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Protests on 'Moral Monday' range from Plaza Frontenac to the Rams game

Protests on 'Moral Monday' range from Plaza Frontenac to the Rams game


Updated at 12:30 p.m. to include more information about people arrested (see seventh paragraph).

ST. LOUIS • Protesters fanned out across the metro area for “Moral Monday,” the fourth day of noisy demonstrations over race relations and police conduct that attracted activists from across America.

All told, at least 64 people were arrested. Many of them live far from the metro area, from Massachusetts to California.

Forty-nine were arrested at two separate events in Ferguson that unfolded during a driving midday rainstorm. Other protesters marched briefly through Plaza Frontenac, assembled inside City Hall downtown, unfurled banners at the Rams game and gathered outside a fundraiser in Webster Groves for County Councilman Steve Stenger, the Democratic candidate for county executive.

Eight people were arrested at the Stenger fundraiser, two for having crashed the party in a second-floor office at 110 East Lockwood Avenue. Stenger faces Republican state Rep. Rick Stream in the Nov. 4 election.

They also converged upon two Walmart stores Monday evening and got into one, the Maplewood store on South Hanley Road, where they chanted until store management sent everyone out and closed it. At least one person was arrested. In Ferguson, officers stood across the front door of the store at 10741 West Florissant Road as protesters arrived. Six were arrested there.

A Post-Dispatch reporter covering the protest also was detained by police but was released shortly thereafter.

St. Louis County Police released the names and home towns of the 49 people arrested in Ferguson during the protests outside the city police station and at West Florissant Avenue and Lucas & Hunt Road. They were booked suspected of offenses ranging from peace disturbance to misdemeanor assault of a police officer.

Of those arrested, 24 gave addresses from outside the St. Louis area. Twelve are from the east coast, from Washington to Boston; four from California, two each from Kansas City and Louisville, Ky., and one each from Chicago, Greenville, S.C., Flint, Mich., and Charleston, W.Va.

Of the metro-area people arrested, 19 gave addresses in St. Louis city, two from Webster Groves, and one each from University City, Florissant, Richmond Heights and St. Robert, Mo. None gave a Ferguson address.

All 49 were released pending applications for warrants.

St. Louis arrested one man from Pennsylvania during a protest in the rotunda of City Hall Monday afternoon. Of those arrested at the Ferguson Walmart, four were from St. Louis, one from Cleveland and one from West Virginia. Addresses for those arrested in Webster Groves and Maplewood were unavailable.

Those protests were the latest in the continuing series since a Ferguson police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, on a street in the Canfield Green apartments Aug. 9. The killing sparked tense protests and vandalism in Ferguson, including the burning of a QuikTrip store and looting at the Walmart.

Protesters said Walmart stores were targeted because of a fatal shooting in August of a young black man by police at a store in Ohio. The man was holding a pellet gun sold at the store.

Events beginning Friday and dubbed FergusonOctober drew ministers and young people from around the country. Organizers promised Sunday to fan out across the area for another round called “Moral Monday.”

The biggest took place outside the Ferguson police station, where about 500 people stood in heavy rain to chant and cheer 100 clergy members who offered themselves for arrest. About a dozen ministers walked toward a police line as a man on a bullhorn said they were offering to hear the confessions of police officers.

After a prolonged standoff, police began making arrests. Ferguson police said the total included 23 by its own officers, 13 by county police and six by the Missouri Highway Patrol.

County police arrested six others two miles away on West Florissant Avenue, near the site of the original protests in August. A small group had targeted the Emerson Electric Co. world headquarters at 8000 West Florissant but never got onto the grounds.

Arrests at the police station included Cornel West, an activist author and national media commentator; and Pastor Michael McBride, director of the PICO National Network (People Improving Communities through Organizing) in California.

In the crowd supporting them were 20 people from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves and area ministers, including the Rev. Michael Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral downtown.

“Every person is a child of God, made in God’s image, and as long as there are people who are not being treated with dignity and respect, we need to stand up for them,” Kinman said.

Protesters shouted “Shut it down” and “Fight back” and created a memorial to Brown by drawing a chalk outline of a body on the pavement.

Pastor Osagyefo Sekou of Boston, who was arrested, said afterward that officers had asked him who was leading the protest. “Jesus,” he told them.

Sekou said that they had knelt in front of the police line but that officers had pushed them back with batons and shields before making the arrests. Police said they had not made arrests until protesters tried to push through their line.

Sekou said of the police, “There can be good people in an immoral system. It’s not about bad apples. It’s about a bad system.”

Two more demonstrations unfolded about 4 p.m., one at Plaza Frontenac and the other at St. Louis City Hall. At the shopping mall in Frontenac, 35 protesters suddenly met at the central escalator near the Tiffany’s store and chanted. Shoppers stopped to watch, some of them snapping pictures with their phones. One person walked out of Cardwell’s restaurant and hugged a protester.

Participants belonged to Millennial Activists United. Alexis Templeton, a leader, said of Frontenac, “This is a rich and affluent area. We wanted to march here to bridge that distance from our situation.”

Jamell Spann, another organizer, said, “We made people feel uncomfortable, but we want to show them how we feel uncomfortable every day.”

There were no arrests.

Downtown at City Hall, about 60 people organized by Young Activists United gathered in the rotunda, blowing whistles and chanting. In a statement, spokesman Kennard Williams said, “As the citizens who elect the public officials and pay the taxes to maintain the police force, we find the conduct of the officials who oversee police action as unacceptable for our community.”

Williams said the group’s demands included having all police officers wear body cameras “during any public interaction.”

Mayor Francis Slay was not there, but Jeff Rainford, his chief of staff, said the mayor would meet with the protesters soon.

“We are going to listen to them,” Rainford said. “You are going to see action from this.”

Action outside the Stenger fundraiser, at 110 East Lockwood Avenue, began just before 6 p.m. with 75 protesters. A line of about two dozen officers stood in front of the building. Four protesters sat outside the front door holding a sign saying, “Stenger, McCaskill, Which side are you on.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., attended the fundraiser. Many Ferguson protest leaders have sharply criticized Stenger after he defeated County Executive Charlie Dooley in the August primary with the support of County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch.

Protesters have demanded that McCulloch step aside from the investigation in the Brown case, but he declined.

FergusonOctober also has protested the shooting last Wednesday of VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18, by an off-duty police officer working security in the Shaw neighborhood of south St. Louis. Police said the officer fired after Myers shot three times at the officer and that Myers was wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet awaiting trial on a weapons charge.

That shooting sparked protests in the Shaw neighborhood that included damage to three police vehicles and the burning of American flags.

FergusonOctober began Friday with a march in Clayton. On Saturday, thousands paraded through downtown to protest the deaths of Brown and Myers and call for an end to police violence. On Sunday, hundreds attended an interfaith service at St. Louis University. Some protesters then staged a sit-in on the campus early Monday.

Nancy Cambria, Elisa Crouch, Lilly Fowler, Margaret Gillerman, Nick Pistor and Tim O’Neil of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed to this report.

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Tim O'Neil is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Related to this story

Hundreds of protesters marched to the St. Louis University campus shortly before 2 a.m. today and announced that staging a sit-in.

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