FLORISSANT, MO – “A total disregard not only for black lives but for anyone that was in front of them,” says Reverend Daryl Gray, a leader of the cause.
Timothy Fagan, the Florissant Police Chief, says, “We’re just asking them to respect the fact that this is a community that is being affected by this every single day and that it is not OK to break the law.”
A video with descriptions was released by the Florissant Police Department showing part of what happened, but Reverend Daryl Gray doesn’t feel that’s the whole story.
“We don’t lock arms so they can’t get behind us but so that we don’t be perceived as the aggressor. That’s why we lock arms,” said Reverend Daryl Gray.
Chief Fagan says, “They also do that because it’s more difficult for them to move. So again keeping in mind that we allowed them to block the street, we allowed them to be at the lower portion of the parking lot and even when they approach the building, an area where we are absolutely not comfortable with them being, it was only after the plywood was removed from the windows exposing the building to some pretty substantial damage that we responded out of the police building”
Chief Fagan says the crowd of about 100 people were given three calls to disperse and says then they used pepper spray.
“Police initiated contact with the batons, with the shields, with the pepper spray, with their mace. They initiated the contact, not the non-violent protesters,” said Rev. Gray.
Chief Fagan says, “The officers are in riot gear because the officers have been assaulted. There’s been things thrown at the officers that can cause severe damage. There has been rocks, there’s been batteries, there’s been frozen water bottles, we’ve had fireworks shot at us.”
Police say 17 people were arrested in Sunday’s altercation.
“From my perspective, that is the frustrating part we have been open, we have been transparent, and we’ve been honest with our community and that mistakes were made and we have handled those appropriately. At this point, they’re not asking for anything that we can give them. I can’t prosecute these folks, we can’t get them convicted and I’m certainly not going to fire people that did their job appropriately,” said Chief Fagan.
Rev. Gray says, “Until we hear the police take some responsibility and other police chiefs take responsibility continue to expect us.”