Friday, September 15, 2017

Cops Mace Protesters as Scene in Downtown St. Louis Intensifies

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 2:55 PM

click to enlarge Maleeha Ahmad, 28, was pepper-sprayed by police. - PHOTO BY DOYLE MURPHY
  • PHOTO BY DOYLE MURPHY
  • Maleeha Ahmad, 28, was pepper-sprayed by police.

A protest over the acquittal of former St. Louis cop Jason Stockley briefly intensified early this afternoon, with cops using mace on protesters at Tucker and Spruce in downtown St. Louis.

An estimated 200 or 300 people are in the streets downtown, angry over Judge Timothy Wilson's ruling this morning that Stockley is not guilty of the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith. More than 100 police are also reportedly on the scene.

See also: Protest Follow Stockley Acquittal in Downtown St. Louis

The protester group moved through downtown, heading all the way west to the police headquarters on Olive Boulevard, but at this point appears to be largely concentrated near the intersection of Tucker and Market.

It was not far from that, at Tucker and Spruce, around 1:30 p.m., that bicycle cops deployed their pepper spray.

Maleeha Ahmad, 28, of St. Louis was maced along with several other protesters. She says a group of them blocked a police bus at Spruce and Tucker, expecting the bus to back up.

Instead, bike cops rolled in with mace — and hit her right in the face.

"It was right in my face," she says. "You couldn't even see my eyes."

Adds Ahmad, "The police are trying to tear us apart and make us violent, but they're the ones making it violent." She says the officers both rammed them with bikes, using the bicycles as makeshift barricades, and pepper-sprayed them.

click to enlarge Police hold the line in downtown St. Louis. - PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • Police hold the line in downtown St. Louis.

Activist Kennard Williams says multiple people were taken into custody at the time of the macing. "The people who were alongside the bus, they were macing point-blank," he said.

So far, police have only officially confirmed that they've taken one person into custody — a man who, earlier this morning, allegedly damaged a police vehicle at Washington and 14th Street. He has charged with destruction of property and failure to obey, police said.

Observers say they've witnessed six or seven more people being taken into custody.

Generally, the protesters have rotated around downtown between City Hall, the court buildings and Washington Avenue, sometimes breaking into multiple groups but generally united into a single large group near the "free speech zone" designed by Mayor Lyda Krewson.

click to enlarge Activist Anthony Shahid brandishes a puppet with the face of former St. Louis cop Jason Stockley. - PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • Activist Anthony Shahid brandishes a puppet with the face of former St. Louis cop Jason Stockley.

Doyle Murphy, Danny Wicentowski and Sarah Fenske contributed to this report.

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