The Organization for Black Struggle (OBS)Responds to Unwarranted and Aggressive Police Action At Peaceful Protest in St. Louis
St. Louis City Police Invaded Local Neighborhood Using Violent, Militarized Tactics on Community Members Without Warning or Just Cause
On Wednesday afternoon, following a day of non-violent protest commemorating the death of Kajieme Powell in St. Louis City, community members gathered at the site of a police shooting at the intersection of Walton Ave. and Page Ave., were met by dozens of St. Louis City police in riot gear, who then escalated the situation with multiple threats of chemical agents, the presence of armoured vehicles and a handful of arrests. After several hours of peaceful protest, police began terrorizing the surrounding community with no warning by unleashing multiple types of chemical agents, firing rubber bullets, aiming weapons at bystanders and even cutting off cars attempting to escape the scene. These militarized tactics were directed indiscriminately toward all who were nearby the original protest site, including young children and residents who were doing nothing but observing from their homes. The Organization for Black Struggle issued the following statement in response to the unfortunate situation:
“Today a community was held captive and forced to experience the terror that is our police department. Chemical agents were deployed without warning on the elderly and children, as people gathered to demonstrate against police brutality,” said Kayla Reed, a field organizer with OBS. “Guns were drawn on unarmed civilians without cause and instead of being given space to mourn and protest, a neighborhood was stalked, harassed and violated by the people who swore to serve and protect them.
Today’s events blatantly show that despite an entire year of international attention surrounding the Ferguson Uprising and the recent murders of Vonderrit Myers and Kajieme Powell at the hands of St. Louis City police, St. Louis City officials have done nothing to address police violence in black communities. Mayor Francis Slay, Chief Sam Dotson, and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce have continued to allow police officers to kill black men and women in this city with impunity, and terrorize those who speak up against police violence. Until these officials are held accountable for their inaction, we will continue to demand justice and disrupt business as usual.
We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Mansur Ball Bey and to all those harmed and affected by the unjust actions that occurred today. We will continue to demand a transparent investigation.