Protesters interrupted the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, calling for an independent investigation of the St. Louis County Police Department.
On Saturday, multiple protesters were arrested while they marched through the Saint Louis Galleria.
Before police moved in, the officers reportedly gave orders to the protesters to disperse.
According to the St. Louis County Police Department, the protesters began to act disorderly and were reportedly throwing trash cans within the mall.
The police made 22 arrests.
— Clayton Times (@ClaytonTimes) September 27, 2017
Speakers at the county council meeting said the police officer’s dispersal orders were barely audible through their megaphones. Speakers also added that Saturday’s protest was completely nonviolent and the only violence conducted was the police officers trying to arrest protesters.
Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, also spoke at the county council and asked for an independent investigation of the St. Louis County Police Department.
“We request that this investigation be performed by an independent, legal investigator outside St. Louis County government and St. Louis County Police Department,” Newman said. “22 citizens were arrested at the Galleria and were held overnight in the St. Louis County Justice Center for 24 hours before being released with various charges.”
— Brian (@BrianRobbins9) September 26, 2017
Newman added that fellow legislators and religious leaders agree that the St. Louis County Police Department’s actions were uncalled for.
“The co-signed here legislators here and faith leaders have many questions as of the availability that evening of legal counsel, adequate medical care and needed medicines given to those arrested as well as law enforcement procedures that were used at the Galleria and St. Louis County Justice Center,” she said.
There are some who believe a private investigation isn’t needed because there is already a Board of Police Commissioners which are made up of five members who the final authority for the control and supervision of the St. Louis County Police Department.
St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, said the main function of the board is to have oversight on such police issues.
“Well we do have a police board that’s independent. Citizens on the police board are two African Americans, a female out of the five,” Dolan said. “I think have a pretty broad spectrum of full representation of the residents of the St. Louis County that’s already on our board. That’s their job and are already in place to do that. That’s what they’re there for.”
Dolan added that it’s important to realize that police officers’ main function is to protect public safety.
“I wasn’t there and I respect everybody’s right to exercise their first amendment rights (but) like in every situation there are two sides to every story,” he said. “I’ve seen videos on both sides of the situation and I wasn’t there to see exactly how it went down. It is a private building, it’s got a public street so I can say the police were there to protect public safety and property and again I wasn’t there to see how it escalated.”