22 arrested at protest over acquittal of St. Louis officer in black man’s shooting

ST. LOUIS— 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 Sept. 15 verdict.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Saturday’s protest began peacefully, with people marching and chanting among shoppers in the mall.Protests have occurred around the St. Louis area since a judge ruled that white former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black.

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, but the police department’s Twitter page said 22 were arrested.

Another group protested outside America’s Center in downtown St. Louis. Police blocked off some streets but no arrests were reported.

A reporter from the St. Louis Public Radio tweeted photos of police officers arrested a protester as well as demonstrators traveling throughout the mall.

A reporter from KTIV was heading to the mall to do shopping when she was told the mall was shutdown due to protesters. Police were not letting anyone in but were letting people out.

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.

The police department was posting updates on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/stlcountypd/status/911678906306109440