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After protesters block Interstate 64, St. Louis police make multiple arrests

Police arrested dozens of people on Oct. 3, 2017, after they blocked part of Interstate 64.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio
Police arrested dozens of people on Tuesday, after they blocked part of Interstate 64.

Updated Oct. 4 at 9:55 a.m. with the number of arrests — The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department arrested 143 people protesting Jason Stockley’s acquittal  Tuesday night after they blocked a section of Interstate 64 in St. Louis.

It’s the latest demonstration after a judge found Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, on Sept. 15. Demonstrators aredemanding police officers stop killing black people throughout St. Louis.

After meeting in a parking lot near a Central West End grocery store, dozens of people drove east on I-64 toward Compton Avenue. Protesters then got onto the highway and blocked traffic. They linked arms and started marching, eventually leaving the highway at the Jefferson Avenue exit.

In a move known as a "kettle," police officers in riot gear surrounded the protesters as they arrived at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Market Street, in the Downtown West neighborhood, then made the arrests. Unlike a previous kettle last month along Washington Avenue, police did not use chemical agents like pepper spray.

Police officers form a line near Jefferson Avenue and Market Street. Dozens of people were arrested after blocking Interstate 64 on Oct. 3, 2017.
Credit Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio
Police officers form a line near Jefferson Avenue and Market Street. Dozens of people were arrested after blocking Interstate 64 on Tuesday.

Saint Louis University law professor Brendan Roediger said Missouri state Rep. Bruce Franks and Starsky Wilson were among those arrested. Franks, D-St. Louis, has joined other young African-American elected officials who have taken part in the Stockley protests.

Wilson was the co-chairman of the Ferguson Commission, which came up with a list of policy recommendations after Michael Brown's shooting death in Ferguson in 2014.

As the arrests were happening, volunteer attorneys and legal observers used a bullhorn to collect the names and dates of birth of those being detained. A crowd of more than 100 people later gathered in front of the downtown jail known as the St. Louis Justice Center, with many chanting  "we are the people — the mighty, mighty people."

Karla Frye, an elder with the St. Peter African Methodist Episcopal church in St. Louis, spoke briefly to the crowd, thanking them for showing up to support those who were being held. Frye was arrested at a protest at the St. Louis Galleria on Sept. 23.

“I feel the love that you expressed at the Galleria and afterwards. And I want you to know that I am out here, and we are going to win," she said as the crowd cheered.

Frye faces charges of assault in the third degree, rioting and two counts of resisting or interfering with arrest. St. Louis Post-Dispatch photos show her jumping on the back of a St. Louis County police officer, and then being pulled away in a chokehold. She was reportedly upset at the way police were treating her 13-year-old grandson.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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