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St. Louis mayor, chief seek independent investigation of police actions during protest

ST. LOUIS, MO — Mayor Lyda Krewson and Interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole are calling for a third-party investigation into allegations of police misconduct during protests that followed the acquittal of a white former police officer in the death of a black man.

The mayor and chief said in a joint statement Wednesday that police internal affairs and the civilian oversight board will investigate complaints. But they've also asked the U.S. attorney's office for a third-party investigation. They say it's important for public confidence.

Several protests followed a Sept. 15 decision by a judge that Jason Stockley was not guilty in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. One protest on Sept. 17 resulted in about 120 arrests, all but three on accusations of failure to disperse.

The arrests led to complaints to the police internal affairs division and a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.

Mayor Lyda Krewson and interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole released this joint statement:

"Mayor Lyda Krewson and Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole have pledged an objective, thorough, and fair investigation of all complaints and lawsuits stemming from the St. Louis City Police Department's response to the demonstrations and civil disobedience over the past week and a half.

This effort will include Internal Affairs, the Civilian Oversight Board, and an independent third party investigation. It is important that the public have confidence in the results of this process, therefore Mayor Krewson and Chief O'Toole are calling on the US Attorney for a third party investigation of the conduct, allegations and lawsuits.

As of Wednesday morning, the Police Department's Internal Affairs Division has received a dozen grievances in connection with the departments response to the demonstrations and civil disobedience since the verdict in the Stockley case.

These are troubling and difficult allegations, and it is important to determine if they are merited and, if so, what policy, training, or discipline issues need to be addressed. In addition to filing a complaint with Internal Affairs, complaints can also be fled directly to the Civilian Oversight Board.

The men and women of the St. Louis Police Department have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to the safety of our city and citizens. They have worked thousands of extra hours in high tension situations to ensure that demonstrators can march safely in our streets and to protect people and property from those who intend destruction and harm."