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Florissant police chief says protesters tried to get into police department building

"They continue to try do things to try and bring officers out of the building because they are looking for that one on one confrontation," said Chief Fagan

FLORISSANT, Mo. — Protesters have been setting up outside the Florissant Police Department for weeks after video surfaced of a detective hitting a man with his SUV.

July 5 was no different.

Seventeen people were arrested after police said the protesters marched to the police department and damaged property.

RELATED: 17 people arrested, 2 cars towed after protests at Florissant Police Department

Protesters with the group Expect Us told the I-Team they were unfairly pepper sprayed and faced excessive force by officers in protective gear.

"We're asking them to work on them. we don't have to be there if they fix their problem. so if you look at it like that, you fix you and we can go home," said Ester Corey Bush, with Expect Us.

Monday afternoon a new version of events was described by Florissant police chief Timothy Fagan. Fagan provided the I-Team with new video with what he said led up to police confronting protesters.

"They continue to try do things to try and bring officers out of the building because they are looking for that one on one confrontation. and it's certainly not something that we're looking for and certainly not something we ever want to see," said Chief Fagan.

In the video, which appeared to be from a surveillance camera across the street, you can see a large crowd approach the police department building and according to Fagan, the crowd attempted to gain entry to the main door.

When they weren't able to do that, Fagan said protesters pried a piece of plywood off of one of the front windows. Fagan said it was only after it appeared protesters were trying to enter the building that police came out in protective gear.

"What we have seen on our end is an escalation on the part of the protesters. they're not happy with protesting peacefully. they're not happy with not having a confrontation with police," said Chief Fagan. 

"It's really ironic that they would call it police property when it's public property and we are part of the public," said Reverand Darryl Grey, with Expect Us. 

More than a dozen protesters held an event in front of the St. Louis justice center in Clayton Monday. 

They were demanding the release of 17 people who were arrested during the incident Sunday night. 

Chief Fagan said protesters are still welcome in the designated protest area. 

RELATED: Other officers seen in video of Florissant officer hitting man with SUV won't face charges

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