St. Louis Sues to Allow Police to Abuse Protestors

The city of St. Louis has filed a motion to allow police to exact violence against demonstrators who do not pose a threat.

The city of St. Louis has filed a motion to allow police to use violence on protestors who pose no threat.

By Free Radical

On Friday, the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office filed a federal petition to grant local police the legal sanction to use strong arm tactics against protestors.

The case stems from the 2017 uprising in response to the Jason Shockley acquittal. Shockley, who was found not guiltily of first degree murder and armed criminal action after he killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a Black man, following a car chase. Video evidence placed much of Shockley’s story in doubt and hinted at the former police officer maliciously killing Smith as a result of becoming exasperated after the pursuit.

In the protests that ensued, police officers used “kettle” techniques to surround, and according to multiple witness statements, beat, taunt, and pepper spray demonstrators. Police officers also unknowingly beat a Black undercover cop at the scene.

This wanton violence sparked a 2017 ACLU lawsuit that resulted in a federal injunction which barred police from macing or threatening to mace individuals who posed no threat of violence.

Though the city initially expressed it would comply with the order, Friday’s motion sought to dissolve the injunction. The city contends that the ACLU “inveigled the Court into improvident intrusion into police practices in the City of St. Louis.” If successful, the city will be able to arbitrarily punish peaceful demonstrators with little legal consequence.

“We’ll be responding, but we see the case differently, of course,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. Rothert also expressed that motions to dismiss a case are common, especially when two opposing sides are nearing the end of the phase in which they exchange evidence.

The city and ACLU were also ordered to enter into resolution. They have not done so yet.

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