[WATCH] ‘Stop Killing Us’ Banner at Cardinals Game Followed by Pepper Spray and Arrests Outside

A Friday night protest that began peacefully, with demonstrators dropping a banner inside Busch Stadium reading “Stop Killing Us,” changed tone rapidly less than two hours later when police made multiple arrests, appeared to taser at least one protester and pepper-sprayed several others.

The arrests left protesters outraged and confused, and many took to social media to describe a police action that, they say, was unprovoked and excessive.

Among those pepper-sprayed last night was 5th Ward Democratic Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge, who posted a picture to Facebook early this morning showing his face covered in the Maalox-and-water solution used by protesters to treat the chemical agent, which causes an intense and painful irritation to the eyes and skin that can last hours.

Heather De Mian, a livestreamer who has covered protests around St. Louis for years, was also pepper-sprayed in the middle of her stream.

In a video interview uploaded by Post-Dispatch reporter Nassim Benchaabane, De Mian, who uses a wheelchair, said that she’d been attempting to film another arrest when an officer maced her “from the side, out of nowhere.”

Another video appeared to show Reverend Darryl Gray, a frequent presence on the protest line, stumbling to his knees. The video also featured a second protester, Calvin “Cap” Kennedy, being led away after apparently being tased.

The Friday night protest marked two weeks since a city judge acquitted former St. Louis cop Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

It isn’t the first to raise questions about police tactics. The ACLU has filed a class-action lawsuit over pepper spray. And earlier this week, in the wake of detailed reports of “kettling” and mass arrests carried out downtown, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and interim police Chief Lawrence O’Toole called on the U.S. Attorney to investigate claims of police abuse arising from the department’s response to protests. (County officers have also come under fire for their arrests of protesters at the St. Louis Galleria last Saturday, which some elected officials have charged were a “police riot.”)

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