Appeals Court: St. Louis officers not immune from lawsuit

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that St. Louis police officers do not have qualified immunity from a lawsuit filed by a man who was arrested along with several other people during a protest in 2017.

The ruling Thursday by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals ruling upheld a lower court decision in a lawsuit filed by Brian Baude, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Baude was one of several people who sued over police actions during protests following the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley in the death of a Black man in 2017.

At a protest in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 17, 2017, police used a tactic known as a kettle, in which officers form lines and encircle crowds. The procedure resulted in 123 arrests.

Baude said in the lawsuit that he was outside his home checking on damage when he was caught up in the mass arrest. He said he was hit with pepper spray and jailed for 14 hours before being released.

The lawsuit was on hold while courts decided an appeal from officers, who claimed qualified immunity, which protects government employees from lawsuits if their actions don’t violate clearly established law or constitutional rights.