The Latest: St. Louis mayor, chief seek third-party probe
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on protests that followed the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer in the death of a black man (all times local):
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole are calling for a third-party investigation into allegations of police misconduct during protests that followed the acquittal of a white former police officer in the death of a black man.
The mayor and chief said in a joint statement Wednesday that police internal affairs and the civilian oversight board will investigate complaints. But they’ve also asked the U.S. attorney’s office for a third-party investigation. They say it’s important for public confidence.
Several protests followed a Sept. 15 decision by a judge that Jason Stockley was not guilty in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. One protest on Sept. 17 resulted in about 120 arrests, all but three on accusations of failure to disperse.
The arrests led to complaints to the police internal affairs division and a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.
St. Louis’ interim police chief is defending the way officers have responded to protests during the past two weeks.
Lawrence O’Toole also says he has “no problem” if the U.S. Attorney’s office wants to investigate.
O’Toole spoke Wednesday on Charlie Brennan’s program on KMOX Radio . He says 30 officers have been injured while responding to protests over the Sept. 15 aquittal of white former officer Jason Stockley in the death of a black suspect, Anthony Lamar Smith.
Police were criticized for using a process called “kettling” to arrest around 120 people during a downtown protest on Sept. 17, prompting some to call for a federal investigation.
Some of those arrested, including bystanders and a St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist, said they had nowhere to go when police ordered the crowd to disperse. O’Toole says there was room to leave.
Protesters are demanding an independent investigation into the arrest of 22 people Saturday at a popular mall in suburban St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that protesters packed a St. Louis County Council meeting Tuesday night to make the case for the investigation. Police have defended the arrests at the St. Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights, Missouri, saying demonstrators got out of hand.
One speaker, Al Gerber, told the council “all the violence” came from police.
After the meeting, Council Chairman Sam Page said it’s unclear which officers did what and how much the county can do, since the police came from multiple agencies.
The demonstrators were protesting the Sept. 15 acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white former police officer, in the killing of a black man.