ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – UPDATE: St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole have called for an independent investigation into the police department’s response to Jason Stockley demonstrations.
“It is important that the public have confidence in the results of this process, therefore Mayor Krewson and Chief O’Toole are calling on the U.S. Attorney for an independent third party investigation of the conduct, allegations and lawsuits,” the release states.
As of Wednesday morning, the department’s Internal Affairs Division had received a dozen grievances in connection with its response to the Stockley verdict protests, according to the release.
It’s important to determine if the allegations are merited, it says, and if they are, “what policy, training, or discipline issues need to be addressed.”
Our previous reporting is as follows:
Interim St. Louis Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole says those who feel like his officers have gone overboard in their actions at protest scenes need to contact the police department’s Internal Affairs Division or Civilian Review Board with complaints.
O’Toole told KMOX’s Charlie Brennan he’s willing to have another set of eyes look at complaints, too.
“I’ve recommended to the mayor that if it makes everyone feel comfortable, then I have no problem at all with the U.S. Attorney reviewing this,” he said.
Police have been accused of using the tactic called “kettling” during a Stockley verdict protest downtown, meaning police surrounding a group on all sides, and arresting everyone in the middle.
Brennan asked O’Toole about that allegation.
“It’s not a technique that we use,” he said. “We went to where the protesters had gathered; we didn’t select the spot. We went there, and it was the area itself that dictated the tactics that we used.”
He confirmed an undercover police officer was among those arrested, but that it is not uncommon in such cases, in order to keep the officer’s cover intact.
O’Toole said investigators will see evidence that the crowd was given orders to disperse and room to get out of there.
Everybody wants the truth to come out, the interim chief said, and if his officers have been using foul language in making arrests, they need to be held accountable.