There were repeated calls to fire St. Louis' Interim police chief and end police brutality last night at Harris Stowe University during a panel discussion called, "Protest to Policy: A Path to Change after Stockley." The St. Louis Young Democrats hosted the event.
Frustrated people in the crowed would shout at Mayor Lyda Krewson while she was speaking on multiple occasions. They were voicing their concern over police accountability and calling for the firing of the interim police chief.
State Representative Bruce Franks asked Krewson why she won’t fire interim police chief Lawrence O’Toole in front of the crowd, which was made up of a number of protesters. Krewson responded by saying she was not going to discuss personnel matters at the event and that the city is currently searching for a new police chief.
She also says she is committed to strengthening the Citizen Oversight Board with subpoena power. Krewson says she wants a police chief who is caring, ethical and fair.
Rep. Franks says the city needs to do a better job at vetting officers. He also says police should not be able to police themselves and that the city needs to hire a full time public safety director.
Heather Taylor, the President of the Ethical Society of Police, says the city needs to make sure the next police chief has not been disciplined for bad behavior. Taylor says she also wants a chief in place who doesn't let their officers make excuses for killing unarmed citizens.
David Dwight, a co-chair on the citizen committee to help with the new police chief search, recommends requiring a psychological and bias screening for all officers. He also suggests a use of force data base to keep record of these type of officer-involved incidents.
The protesters marched on campus and protested at the intersection of Compton and Olive after the panel discussion. The mayor was unavailable for comment after the event, but a spokesperson for her office says she does believe constructive changes can come out of the discussion.