ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A husband and wife who live downtown say they were not protesters, but innocent bystanders caught up the mass arrests at Tucker and Washington September 17.

Alex and Iris Nelson live at 13th and Washington, testifying in federal court this week that it was curiosity that brought them out on the streets that night. Why couldn’t they just tell police they lived nearby and go home?

“The police were using a tactic that was loud. You couldn’t communicate to the police officers, they were screaming, they were yelling at people. There was so much noise you couldn’t communicate with the police officers at all,” Alex says.

“If you even got close to them they pulled out the pepper spray immediately and yelled at people to get back,” Iris says.

Both say they were pepper sprayed by police. Police allegedly pepper-sprayed the husband after he was already lying on the ground awaiting arrest, then dragged and kicked him. Alex testified he has a top security clearance at Scott Airforce Base, and his wife Iris works at a downtown coffee shop.

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