St. Louis County police defend weekend Galleria arrests

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The St. Louis County Police Department is pushing back against what the department calls “false narratives” surrounding arrests made during a weekend demonstration at the Galleria.

Police blame social media in part for some people believing no warning was given before arrests were made.

Protestors say police orders were not clearly heard because of the noise inside the mall. They say it was the police who caused a chaotic scene with their reaction. They say video shows officers being angry, aggressive, and responding with unwarranted force.

Some elected leaders believe an outside investigation should be conducted into how police handled the demonstration.

On Wednesday, St. Louis County police released the following statement:

Announcements were loud, clear, and given over a megaphone. Three times. They were heard by those in the crowd, as many livestreamers verbally acknowledge and disregard them.

The least possible amount of force was used to gain compliance. There was no mace, gas, or any other levels of force besides officers going hands on with combative and resistant suspects. The officers present were calm and professional during the chaotic scene as individuals resisted and interfered with arrests being affected.

Rev. Karla Frye was arrested during the demonstration and spoke to a magazine reporter from jail.

“Commanding officers got right in front of us, about three feet away, and said, ‘You’re now in violation’ of something, and we couldn’t hear him very well, but his main thing was, ‘You have two minutes to disperse or you’ll be arrested’ for whatever.”

Both police and protestors believe cellphone video from the incident supports their version of events.