ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-Police and protesters faced off in south St. Louis overnight. It took place at a Quik Trip gas station around 1:30am. The incident is a frightening reminder of the burning of the Quik Trip in Ferguson in August that happened just after the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Overnight, a group of protesters left Ferguson, MO and St. Louis police were expecting them to head in the Shaw Neighborhood where 18 year old Vonerrick Meyers Jr. was shot and killed by police last week. St. Louis riot police were there and had even blocked off roads leading into the neighborhood.
But the marchers instead went several blocks north and police scrambled. The protestors ended up at the brand new Quik Trip at Vandeventer and Chouteau. Clerks inside locked the doors and backed away from the doors fearing the store would be looted and burned like the location in Ferguson was would happen here. A woman who identified herself as a mother of a worker called our newsroom frantic and worried about her son.
The tactical unit responded to the convenience store armed with pepper spray. The people sat down surrounding much of the store. Police told them to leave. The demonstrators didn't budge. Officers began moving across the parking lot, making a rat-a-tat sound as they hit their night sticks on their leg shields.
St. Louis Police arrested 17 people for Unlawful Assembly. There were no reports of injuries or property damage.
Both protesters and police could be seen videotaping the protest overnight.
After the police moved in, some of the protesters left and went to the make shift memorial at Shaw and Clem where Meyers was killed.
The 24 hour Quik Trip location was closed for about two hours during the protest.
The organizers of the Ferguson October events released a statement early Sunday denouncing police violence and accusing St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson of spreading lies.
"Instead of deescalating rising tensions in the city, Chief Dotson's comments are inciting anger and making matters worse.
Today protestors in St. Louis showed the best of our democracy and the St. Louis police demonstrated the worst of their out of control law enforcement agency. The police brutalized peaceful people protesting their brutality.
With batons and chemical agents they attacked people peacefully sitting on the ground and the reporters who were there with them.
The people of St. Louis are going to the greatest lengths to achieve justice and are being met with cowardice, hostility, and outright lies from the very institutions who do anything but serve and protect. This movement will continue to grow until we see justice instead of violent police in the streets of St. Louis."