Video: St. Louis police arrest 22 protesters demonstrating against officer's acquittal
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police have arrested several people at an upscale St. Louis shopping mall who were protesting the recent acquittal of a white former police officer in the shooting death of a black man.
More than 200 people gathered Saturday at the St. Louis Galleria to continue to protest the Aug. 15 verdict. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Saturday's protest began peacefully, with people marching and chanting among shoppers in the mall.
Police eventually cleared the mall after some people in the group became disorderly and some trash cans were overturned.
Authorities did not immediately say how many were arrested.
Another group protested outside America's Center in downtown St. Louis. Police blocked off some streets but no arrests were reported.
Missouri is again at the center of a racially charged conflict after a judge acquitted a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old black male suspected of a drug crime.
The Sept. 15 verdict provoked angry protests and arrests in a state still not fully recovered from the unrest that followed the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old shot by a white officer in the suburb of Ferguson.
An undercover St. Louis police officer and an Air Force lieutenant who lives in the neighborhood were among several people who say they were forcibly arrested last weekend even though they were not participating in protests over the acquittal of a white former officer in the killing of a black suspect.
About 120 people were arrested — most for failing to disperse — about two hours after vandals broke some windows and threw items at officers last Sunday. The officers used a tactic called kettling that boxed in demonstrators and others in the area.
The city's acting police chief and Gov. Eric Greitens praised the officers for controlling the demonstrations, but there has been growing criticism of their actions as details have emerged. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that the police violated people's civil rights, and two top city officials have said some police actions were "disturbing."
Police said people were arrested only if they didn't follow orders to disperse, but some people said they had nowhere to go because police had boxed them in.