ST. LOUIS, MO - Protesters marched inside the Saint Louis Galleria mall Saturday, one week after a judge's verdict in the Jason Stockley bench trial led to demonstrations across the region. According to Richmond Heights Police, protesters gathered outside the mall near the Cheesecake Factory around Noon. They were allowed inside to march and chant peacefully. Police say that at some point, an individual involved in the march threw a garbage can as protesters tried to ride an escalator to the second floor of the mall.
According to police, mall management did not want the group blocking shoppers access to the escalators and asked that all involved be removed. That’s when the Richmond Heights Police Department requested the assistance of the St. Louis County Police Department.
Richmond Heights Police began ordering protesters to disperse. Three orders to disperse were given and the majority of the protesters did obey. Some refused to respond and were arrested.
The Richmond Heights Police Department and St. Louis County Police Department arrested 22 people. Charges range from Trespassing, Rioting, Resisting Arrest, and Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer. These charges will be applied at the state level.
A St. Louis County Police Department officer was transported to a local hospital for a back injury. Two protesters suffered minor scrapes while they were taken into custody.
The Saint Louis Galleria knew in advance of the organized protest. The mall was closed once arrests were made about 1:00pm and reopened at approximately 2:30pm
St. Louis County Police say they warned demonstrators to leave. They tweeted this message, "Dispersal orders given loud and clear after destructive actions at the Galleria. Arrests appear to be imminent."
It is not clear what property was being destroyed. But arrests were made near the escalators. People at the mall recorded officers detaining several demonstrators. They posted the images to social media. You can see their posts archived below.
FOX 2 reporter Michelle Madaras reported that police were not letting people into the mall.
In 2011, then St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley and his partner sought to question Anthony Lamar Smith after witnessing what they thought was a drug transaction. After a chase, Stockley shot Smith five times, claiming Smith had a gun. Prosecutors said Stockley planted the weapon in Smith's car.
A judge acquitted Stockley on Sept. 15, 2017, setting off protests. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on Friday filed a lawsuit over police treatment of protesters.