Occupy Protestors Stand Against Police Violence

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Nearly three weeks after a clash with police in South St. Louis, Occupy Midwest protesters returned to the scene Tuesday night, armed with signs and candles but prepared for more trouble.

About 60 gathered at Reservoir park, the same spot where St. Louis Police arrested 15 Occupy protesters March 15th.  There were no arrests this time; no shouting; no mention of the Occupy of the economic inequality between America`s richest 1% and the other 99%.   Instead, protesters stood against violence both in St. Louis and Florida, where the Trayvon Martin case continues to swirl. Martin was the Florida teen shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, last month.

Zimmerman has not been charged.

The Occupy protester`s big banner blasting police with the message, 'How Much More Police Violence B4 We Rise Up', drew honks of support from those driving by.

Along with supporting Martin`s family, the protesters also marked the police crackdown here last month;  police rousing protesters who appeared to be ready to set up a camp, beyond curfew.

Protesters said police beat them, at least 3 needing medical treatment after their release from jail.

In the days that followed, vandals spray-painted pro-occupy graffiti on the reservoir wall and a historic statue.

The protester`s signs Tuesday night proclaimed a far different message.

'I`m going to put, `when are the police non-violent?`' said protester, Michelle Witthaus, making a sign.

She was there the night of the arrests.

`Peaceful protester does not equal police pinata`,' said protester, Keith Rose, reading the sign he was holding.

'They asked us to leave, at which time we did.  Then they came charging at us with billy clubs raised above their heads.  That`s terrifying,' said protester, Catherine Lipinski, one of those arrested March 15th.  'It was very chaotic and it was really scary for a lot of us.  We haven`t experienced that here locally in St. Louis. This isn`t Oakland, this isn`t New York, this isn`t Boston.'

'When police are beating innocent protesters, they`re basically assuming they`re guilty.  They`re issuing a verdict without them being tried,' Witthaus said.

'We`re hoping to end that not only for the white protester but also for the lone black man walking down the street in a hoodie,' Rose said.

Police called their response in March "appropriate", given the protesters disregard for the law.

Tea party protesters promised a counter demonstration at Reservoir Park, Tuesday night.  They never showed up.  So, the few officers who were there on standby,  simply kept an eye on things from a distance.

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