When protesters in St. Louis decided it would be a great idea to block a freeway in its third straight week of protests surrounding a former police officer’s acquittal on murder charges, very bad things happened.
Police arrested more than 120 of the protesters blocking the highway, The Daily Caller reports. Drivers were warned by police about the protest blocking the highway about 7:40 p.m. local time and had the freeway cleared by about 8 p.m.
DEMONSTRATORS BLOCKING MOTORISTS INSIDE VEHICLES & SOME ARE MARCHING ON I-64. ARRESTS WILL BE MADE IF THEY DO NOT DISPERSE. #STLVERDICT
— ST. LOUIS, MO POLICE (@SLMPD) OCTOBER 4, 2017
Police managed to get the group off the road, ordering them to the ground and systematically handcuffed them and put them in the back of police transport vans for a quick trip to jail.
One of the protesters was State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., who was shocked that he got arrested for blocking a public right-of-way.
WE GETTING LOCKED UP!
— BRUCE FRANKS JR (@BRUCEFRANKSJR) OCTOBER 4, 2017
This was the second mass arrest since the acquittal of former officer James Stockley in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Clark. He was found not guilty on Sept. 15.
On Sept. 17, 130 protesters were arrested in what they called a “kittling” operation – an action that prompted complaints and misconduct lawsuits from the ACLU and others.
Steven Hoffman, a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild who was there to monitor police behavior, said police didn’t use chemical agents while making arrests, according to the Post-Dispatch. The detail is crucial as the ACLU’s earlier lawsuit centers on police misusing chemicals like pepper spray during the previous mass arrest.
No retaliatory lawsuits have yet been filed in the wake of Tuesday night’s arrests.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the scene:
PROTESTERS WERE NEARING MARKET STREET WHEN THEY WERE MET BY A POLICE LINE AND THEY MOVED ONTO THE SIDEWALK.
THE PROTESTERS CHANTED: “WE DON’T SEE A RIOT HERE. WHY ARE YOU IN RIOT GEAR?” AND “TOUCH ONE, TOUCH ALL.”
POLICE ORDERED PROTESTERS TO THE GROUND, THEN BEGAN SYSTEMATICALLY HANDCUFFING THEM AND PACKING THEM INTO ABOUT A DOZEN POLICE VANS.
AFTER THE SWEEP, POLICE DID NOT RELEASE ANY INFORMATION ON THE NUMBER ARRESTED OR THE CHARGES, BUT ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN JOHN COLLINS-MUHAMMAD SAID 126 PEOPLE WERE TAKEN INTO CUSTODY.
POLICE SPOKESWOMAN SCHRON JACKSON SAID WEDNESDAY MORNING THAT POLICE MADE 143 ARRESTS OF PEOPLE FOR BLOCKING TRAFFIC. POLICE WERE STILL COMPILING NAMES, ADDRESSES AND CHARGES, WHICH WERE EXPECTED TO BE RELEASED LATER.
OUTSIDE, A FEW DOZEN PROTESTERS WHOSE FRIENDS WERE AMONG THE ARRESTED SPENT THE NIGHT ON THE FRONT LAWN AND SIDEWALK OF THE JUSTICE CENTER. THEY SET UP EIGHT TENTS. SOME HAD GONE ON A SNACK RUN BEFORE SUNUP. THEY SAID THEY WERE WAITING TO HELP BAIL FRIENDS OUT, ONCE CHARGES ARE FILED.
You can expect howls of protest from leftists who will most certainly complain about their mistreatment, but what do people who block an entire freeway expect? What do you think? What is to be done with scores of leftist protesters who refuse to disperse an illegal protest?
Having the police arrest, handcuff them and haul them off to jail en masse is probably better than running them over.