Claims of police abuse during protests took center stage at St. Louis City Hall Tuesday.
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen's public safety committee passed a resolution to require the acting police chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to attend hearings about protest-related complaints and respond to those complaints.
The committee does not need a formal a resolution to require Acting Chief Lawrence O'Toole to appear, according to Committee Chairman and Alderman Terry Kennedy(D-Ward 18).
The resolution's sponsor, Alderwoman Sharon Tyus (D-Ward 1), said the resolution was more like a statement allowing people to express their concerns. And those expressions were emotional.
We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains," chanted some of the attendees led by Alderman John Collins-Muhammad (D-Ward 21).
“Officers began beating people who were fully compliant,” said Keith Rose to the committee.
Person after person took the podium in support of a resolution to get answers from O'Toole.
“Get him here before we get extreme,” said a speaker.
Business owner Eliza Coriell spoke with 5 On Your Side about her concerns of being targeted.
“I think there is a real fear and it is not being addressed by the police officers,” Coriell said.
Coriell presented to the committee a letter in support of protesters with more than 300 signatures, 170 of which are from business owners.
The resolution's passage by a vote of 7-1 drew an emotional response from Tyus.
“I see more and more people getting it, and that they understand and that it’s not just a race thing, it's a humanity thing,” she said.
Alderman Joseph Vaccaro(D-Ward 23) voted against the resolution because O'Toole was not invited Tuesday.
"Until we can all come to the table and start talking and we don't bring one side in versus another side in and until that happens we won't come together as a community,” said Vaccaro.
Kennedy said O’Toole is welcome to all meetings and does attend when invited. Kennedy said Tuesday’s meeting was for the community to feel city administrators heard them.
5 On Your Side did ask for, but have not yet received, O'Toole's response to the resolution or to not being invited to Tuesday’s meeting.
A vote is expected from the entire Board of Alderman on Friday.
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