Protesters, media and a state representative were arrested Tuesday night in the largest mass arrest since protests erupted in St. Louis following the acquittal of a former police officer who shot and killed a black man in 2011.
A videographer from The Young Turks, Ty Bayliss (pictured above), was arrested as well as state representative Bruce Franks.
The night began with a scheduled protest in the Central West End neighborhood earlier that appeared to be a decoy.
Protesters instead briefly blocked eastbound traffic on Interstate 64 near Kingshighway, which is two miles away. Police claimed in a tweet that some motorists had abandoned cars on the highway to join the protests.
Police reported the highway was reopened about 20 minutes later, shortly after 8 p.m. when protesters began marching east.
More than 200 protesters began marching north on Jefferson Avenue when they were surrounded by an equally numbered police force in riot gear near Market Street.
Riot police surrounding protesters on three sides ordered protesters to “Move back.”
Several demonstrators, backed up against several buildings, protested that there was nowhere to go.
Police first arrested an observer from the National Lawyers Guild, then began to arrest media, including activist live streamer Jon Ziegler who goes by Rebelutionary Z on his channel.
“Are you arresting people with cameras first,” a protester named Keith Rose asked.
“No, you are being arrested,” the officer responded before arresting him.
Bruce Franks, a state representative for the 78th district, was also among dozens taken into custody. His latest tweet claimed protesters were “getting locked up” indiscriminately.
County police and Highway Patrol officers assisted city police with arrests, the Post-Dispatch reported.
Police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said Wednesday morning that police made 143 arrests. Police have not yet released charges.
Protests have occurred almost daily since Sept. 15, when a St. Louis Circuit Judge acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley for the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Smith and his partner followed Smith’s car in a pursuit recorded on dashcam video until Smith’s car was immobilized in a collision with police.
Judge Timothy Wilson wrote in his decision that prosecutors failed to prove beyond a “reasonable doubt” Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car. Forensic examination found only Smith’s DNA on the gun, however Wilson wrote that an “urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”
Updated with the number of arrests.