Lawsuits filed over St. Louis police ‘kettling’ practice

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 16: Demonstrators protesting the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley march through University City neighborhood on September 16, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis area is bracing for a second day of protests following yesterday's acquittal of Stockley, who was charged with first-degree murder last year following the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS – Several people arrested in a police “kettle” during a 2017 protest in St. Louis are suing the city, police officers and their supervisors.

Federal lawsuits were filed Monday on behalf of 14 people arrested during a downtown protest on Sept. 17, 2017. The protest was among several that followed the acquittal of white former police officer Jason Stockley in the shooting death of a black suspect.

A kettle involves police forming lines and encircling protesters when crowds become unruly. The practice has drawn objections from those who say it ensnares innocent people who cannot escape and subjects them to rough treatment and unnecessary detention.

Two people who were pepper-sprayed during a separate protest at City Hall also filed lawsuits.

St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush on Tuesday declined comment.