STL Police Use Stun Guns on Peaceful Protesters
Protesters who gathered outside of St. Louis’ Busch Stadium say police officers used stun guns on them as they peacefully participated in a Black Lives Matter demonstration Friday night.
Eight protesters were also arrested by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s bike patrol unit, according to the Huffington Post.
The protest took place on the night of a Cardinals game, with activists having walked into traffic on more than one occasion. Police say they told the protesters to move to the sidewalk several times before arrests were made.
But video footage captured from a cellphone shows that stun guns were used on demonstrators who were on the sidewalk.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the protesters were “endangering lives.”
“The public has a tremendous amount of tolerance, but at some point when people’s lives are put at risk, and that night protesters and the motoring public were put at risk, I think they expect their police department to do something,” Dotson said during a televised interview with the local Fox station.
Among those hit by a stun gun, was a newly elected school board director from a St. Louis suburb. She said she was stunned more than once.
But Kristine Hendrix, director of the University City school board said that she was peacefully protesting with other activists when they were “ambushed by the St. Louis PD.”
Cellphone footage shows Hendrix walking along the sidewalk before police used force.
In the video, an audible clicking sound followed by Hendrix screaming in distress can be heard. An officer then tells Hendrix to put her hands behind her back to which she responds, “I can’t. It hurts.”
“I was the woman tased repeatedly by an officer. I will not post the video due to the trauma I experience reliving it,” Hendrix wrote on Facebook.
Hendrix was arrested for impeding the flow of traffic and resisting arrest. She has since been released on bail.
Under St. Louis’ use-of-force policy, officers can use a stun gun if they reasonable believe that they will be engaged in a violent encounter. The department is conducting an internal investigation into Friday’s incident.
Several witnesses say the demonstration was calm and peaceful.
Black lives matter.