St. LOUIS • A Post-Dispatch reporter who was among dozens arrested by city police during a downtown street protest in September is seeking damages in a federal lawsuit filed Friday against the city and 11 officers.
Mike Faulk's lawsuit alleges violations of his free speech rights while on duty as a journalist, assault by police, unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, inadequate training of officers and a conspiracy to deprive him of his civil rights during an arrest of more than 100 people.
St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush said he could not comment on a lawsuit that had not yet been served; he also said the city's policy is to refrain from commenting on pending litigation.
Faulk was on assignment, using his bicycle and wearing press credentials while covering protests and vandalism Sept. 17 after the acquittal of former Officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Faulk was on the sidewalk near Tucker Boulevard and Washington Avenue as police used a tactic called “kettling” to round up people. The suit also claims police have never returned Faulk's bicycle.
Faulk, 32, who has been on leave from the Post-Dispatch, has said officers pushed him down and held him by putting a boot to his head, and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray after his wrists were bound with zip ties. According to the suit, Faulk was issued a municipal summons for failure to disperse and released on $50 bail after being held at the jail for 13 hours.
Faulk's lawsuit identifies six officers by names and five others as Doe officers because Faulk doesn't know their identities. The suit seeks unspecified damages plus litigation costs, attorney fees and other expenses.