ST. LOUIS • Six more federal lawsuits were filed Tuesday against St. Louis police over their actions at protests that followed the acquittal last year of former police Officer Jason Stockley on a murder charge.
These suits focus on a protest near Ballpark Village on Sept. 29, 2017.
The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, say police threw the Rev. Darryl Gray to the ground, breaking his glasses, and then arrested him.
Protester Calvin Kennedy was chased by police and shocked with a Taser without warning and without being issued any commands, the suit says.
The four other suits were filed by those who say they were pepper-sprayed by police for complaining about the treatment of Gray and Kennedy. They were filed by 5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge, St. Louis County residents Crystal Brown and Amir Brandy, and longtime livestreamer Heather DeMian. They name current Chief John Hayden, said to be the supervisor on the scene at the time, as well as Officer William Olsten and the city. Gray’s lawsuit also names Detective Ronald Vaughn. Two unidentified officers were also sued by Gray and Kennedy.
The protests began about 7 p.m. outside Busch Stadium during a Cardinals game. Protesters entered the stadium during the game, unfurled a banner and left.
The suit says that protesters, acting “peacefully and calmly” were returning to the stadium about 9 p.m., when police arrested Gray and Kennedy. During the resulting angry reaction by protesters, Olsten got agitated and without warning used a pepper spray fogger on four people, the suit says.
City officials have declined to comment on a series of federal lawsuits that have been filed in recent weeks over police actions during Stockley protests, including a suit by St. Louis Alderman Megan Green that says she was tear-gassed in the Central West End and 14 lawsuits over arrests in a police “kettle.”
Robert Patrick • 314-621-5154 @rxpatrick on Twitter RPatrick@post-dispatch.com