st. louis cops seek permission to mace, pepper-spray non-violent protestors
By Erin White
April 9, 2019
Everything I’ve learned about St. Louis in recent years has to do with the abusive police there. Whether it’s police officers are delighting in beating up peaceful protestors or the federal report outlining systematic racism and targeted abuse of Black communities, politics and law enforcement in Missouri’s capital city are corrupt beyond belief. Considering that, I guess this next story should come as no surprise to anyone.
Back in September of 2017, the city of St. Louis and its police force were sued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri for their use of excessive force on peaceful protestors demonstrating against police violence. In a practice now known as “kettling,” cops surrounded, beat on, pepper-sprayed and taunted more than 100 protestors as they kneeled or laid on the ground. These more than 100 victims were arrested and ultimately testified against law enforcement for its brutal treatment of them. The following November, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry issued a preliminary injunction which prohibited cops for using mace, or even threatening to do so, on citizens who posed no imminent threat of violence. Since police officers can’t be trusted to not abuse their powers, said powers should be limited, right?
Well, the St. Louis police are arguing no. Their mandate to label protests as unlawful as well as their ability to use chemical weapons against citizens must be restored at once. And, to top it off, not only are they in the right to do so but the victims of excessive forces actually owe the police a “debt of gratitude” for minimizing potential violence.
In a motion filed in the U.S. District Court, St. Louis police are demanding the lifting of said sanctions, according to the River Front Times.
“On Friday, the attorneys from the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office rolled out a sprawling request for a federal judge to let cops again mace nonviolent protesters.
It is quite the document, in which the lawyers argue that everyone — including, yes, maced protesters and random people caught up in mass arrests — owe the police a “debt of gratitude” because St. Louis didn’t experience “the violence and terror of full-scale riots” in 2017 after ex-cop Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder.”
Despite hours of witness testimony and film footage of the inciting 2017 incident, and the courts ruling that police sought to “punish protesters for voicing criticism of police or recording police conduct”, the department maintains that these practices must continue.
Kinda weird that they’re fighting so hard to regain, what has ben determined to be abusive tactics instead of finding safer alternatives for dealing with the community.
Get The Latest
Signup for the AFROPUNK newsletter