Clay seeks investigation of St. Louis police
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A Democratic congressman from St. Louis is asking the new U.S. attorney for eastern Missouri to launch an investigation of allegations of civil rights violations by St. Louis police officers during protests.
U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay says in a letter to U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen that he is “deeply troubled” by numerous allegations of wrongdoing by police. Jensen, appointed by President Donald Trump, was sworn in last month.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole have previously asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate allegations of police misconduct. The Justice Department has declined to say if it will investigate.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting St. Louis police from shutting down non-violent protests or using chemical agents such as mace as a way to punish demonstrators.
St. Louis has been besieged by protests since a former police officer was acquitted in September in the death of a black suspect.
A leader of the protest movement in St. Louis says a judge’s ruling placing limits on police response to demonstrations is a win “for anybody that’s been part of the movement.”
U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting St. Louis police from shuting down non-violent protests or using chemical agents such as mace as a way to punish demonstrators.
St. Louis has seen numerous protests in the two months since former police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder in the death of a black suspect. Around 300 people have been arrested at demonstrations, with many of them alleging heavy-handed actions by police.
Cori Bush, one of the leaders of the Frontline protest movement, says the judge’s ruling is encouraging and gives momentum to the movement.
The search for a new St. Louis police chief is narrowing, and city leaders expect to name the new chief by the end of the year.
Mayor Lyda Krewson’s spokesman, Koran Addo, said Wednesday that the list of 42 applicants has been narrowed to 10 candidates. The group will be narrowed further to six finalists by Dec. 14, when they will be interviewed by members of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee. The police chiefs association is acting as a consultant in the search.
Krewson and Public Safety director Jimmie Edwards will conduct final interviews on Dec. 15.
The announcement Wednesday came the same day a federal judge ruled that St. Louis police can’t shut down non-violent protests or use mace or tear gas as a way to punish people who have been demonstrating for weeks.
A federal judge has ruled that St. Louis police can’t shut down non-violent protests or use chemical agents such as mace to punish people demonstrating against police conduct.
The Wednesday order responds to an American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri lawsuit against St. Louis over police tactics during ongoing protests following the acquittal of a white former police officer in the 2011 killing of a black man.
The lawsuit accused police of unnecessarily using tear gas and pepper spray, arresting bystander and a journalist, and taunting some of those arrested. Police say protesters threw rocks at officers, sprayed some with unknown substances and shattered shop windows.
The order applies while the lawsuit moves through court. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry wrote it’s needed to protect First Amendment rights during protests.