In what looks like Ferguson all over again, St. Louis police were recorded needlessly attacking peaceful protesters and journalists.
(TFTP) St. Louis, MO — In the wake of the grossly unjust verdict exonerating officer Jason Stockley for the cold-blooded premeditated killing of Anthony Lamar Smith caught on video, St. Louis braced itself for mass protests. While there has been some property damage by criminals, the majority of protesters have been peaceful. However, this did not stop the violent stormtrooper riot police from encircling (aka kettling) the peaceful protesters and unleashing their vengeance.
St Louis Metropolitan Police say peaceful daytime demonstrations on Sunday descended into violent destruction, during which windows were smashed and property destroyed by “agitators” in the city. While some individuals were seen smashing windows and destroying property, police did not differentiate when they surrounded the peaceful protesters.
As disturbing video shows, taken by Jon Zeigler (Rebelutionary Z), police closed in on a group of peaceful people and began wholesale pepper spraying and attacking them. Included in this group of people, were journalists, legal observers, and other peaceful protesters.
We are closed in on all four sides now I have no idea where people are supposed to go. People freaking out #STLVerdict
— Mike Faulk (@Mike_Faulk) September 18, 2017
According to multiple sources on the ground and a video, just prior to kettling dozens of innocent people into a small space and assaulting them, police were heard on the ground chanting ‘Whose streets, our streets’!
Here is a link to a video that confirms what journalists heard, police chanting “Whose streets, our streets” 2X. https://t.co/NwjEUEJ7LI
— David Carson (@PDPJ) September 18, 2017
I spoke with the commander at the scene, he said he did not hear the chant, but said chant was not acceptable, said he would deal with it.
— David Carson (@PDPJ) September 18, 2017
Prior to surrounding a group of nonviolent protesters and assaulting them, police were recorded randomly shooting rubber bullets or pepper spray balls at people too.
Here is the video of St Louis police shooting non-lethals randomly at protestershttps://t.co/vxQrRi3l6t
— SociologiGAL (@StlGal_36) September 18, 2017
Once police had the unarmed, nonviolent, peaceful journalists and protesters completely surrounded and laid out on the pavement, officers were seen indiscriminately pepper spraying and attacking people. As Zeigler filmed the interaction as an independent journalist, an officer is seen walking up to him and showering him with pepper spray as he yells at Zeigler to get down.
Once he’s on the ground, Zeigler continues to film the chaotic and violent scene. Not a single protester was seen fighting with police in the video. However, the level of violence employed by these officers would make you think they were at war.
During one violent scene, police are recorded dragging a man by his feet as his face scrapes across the pavement. The camera then gets knocked away as officers move in to arrest Zeigler for filming.
Apparently familiar with the citizen journalist, police called Zeigler a “superstar” just before dousing him with pepper spray again and smashing his face into the pavement. As Zeigler screams in agony, the video goes dark.
“I’m proud to tell you that the city of St. Louis is safe and the police own the night. Our officers are doing outstanding work. Once again, a group of criminals set out to break windows and destroy property,” St. Louis Police Commissioner Lawrence O’Toole said.
For those that followed the Ferguson protests in the wake of Mike Brown’s death by cop, these scenes are ominously reminiscent. When people take to the streets to demand justice for those needlessly killed by police, the very ones who did the killing are the ones coming out to silence their critics.
As police chant, “whose streets, our Streets!”, we clearly see who’s being protected and served by their presence—and it is not the Constitution, nor the peaceful protesters who are practicing their rights.
While there were only a handful of people who became violent or destructive, more than 80 people were detained, according to local authorities.
Below is what practicing your first amendment looks like in a police state.