Mayor Lyda Krewson and police chief Lawrence O’Toole are calling for an independent investigation into police department’s response to recent demonstrations following the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley.
In a news release, Krewson and O’Toole pledge an objective, thorough, and fair investigation of all complaints and lawsuits stemming from the St. Louis City Police Department’s response to the demonstrations and civil disobedience over the past week and a half. The effort will include Internal Affairs, the Civilian Oversight Board, and an independent third-party investigation.
The mayor’s office says as of Wednesday morning, the police department’s Internal Affairs Division received a dozen grievances relating to the department’s response to the demonstrations and civil disobedience since the decision in the Stockley case. In a joint statement from Krewson and O’Toole, they call the allegations troubling and difficult.
Krewson also said officers have worked thousands of extra hours in ‘high tension’ situations to ensure demonstrators can march safely.
“I thank and respect our officers for their service and dedication,” Krewson said in a statement.
Police have arrested roughly 200 people since Sept. 15.
On Friday, the ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit against the City of St. Louis for unlawful and unconstitutional actions against people during demonstrations following the Stockley decision. They released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“Based on the evidence we’ve seen, we believe an outside investigation into police treatment of protestors and those engaged in civil disobedience following the Stockley verdict is a step in the right direction,” said Tony Rothert, legal director at the ACLU of Missouri. “In a robust democracy, we must always protect the Constitutional rights of those observing, recording or participating in protest activity.”
Anyone who would like to make a complaint of officer misconduct to contact the Internal Affairs Division via slmpd.org or by calling 313-444-5652. Complaints may also be made in person at Police Headquarters at 1915 Olive Street.