Charges dropped against teen arrested during Delmar Loop protests

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI) – After being arrested by University City police in September, 19-year-old Deandre Williams says he’s had a hard time trusting the men and women tasked with protecting him.

“They wrongfully accused me so they can throw anything on me and put me in jail is how I look at it,” Williams said.

During the height of demonstrations protesting the death of activist Darren Seals, a group of protesters—led by the Black Panther Party—marched through the Delmar Loop. At one point, a group of protesters entered the Salt + Smoke restaurant, where Williams was having dinner with a group of friends.

“I took out my phone and I recorded them running out and the police walking behind them,” Williams said. “Whenever I got to the police officer outside, he looked at me dead in my eyes and asked if I was in there and I said, ‘Yes, sir’ and he smacked my phone down and grabbed me and slammed me on the concrete flower pot and placed me under arrest.”

Cellphone video shows the chaos surrounding Williams’ arrest. In it, you can hear people pleading with police that Williams was not involved.

In an interview with the Riverfront Times, Salt + Smoke owner Tom Schmidt said, “I think there was a misunderstanding by police and [the teen] happened to be walking out while everyone else was walking out. As soon as the police were getting involved our staff quickly rushed in to say, ‘No this gentleman was not at all involved in this…’”

Williams was charged with interfering with a police investigation and disturbing the peace. His first court date was scheduled for Wednesday, November 16. During our interview with Williams after asking police for answers, Williams received a phone call that all charges had been dropped and that there was no need for him to show up to court this week.

“I want to make sure that this right here leaves a mark on other people, whenever they see this and whenever they hear that my charges have been dropped after I decide to let everyone else know what happened,” Williams said.

Police never commented directly on Williams’ arrest or the circumstances surrounding that arrest, but in a statement to Fox 2 News on Monday, Interim Police Chief Larry Hampton Jr. said, “After checking into this matter I saw that the complainant no longer desired prosecution on the original charges of Peace Disturbance and subsequently all charges were dropped on all persons involved.”