ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police said they used pepper spray to subdue some of 17 protesters arrested early Sunday in a St. Louis neighborhood not far from the suburb of Ferguson where violence erupted this summer after the shooting of a black man by a white policeman.
The arrests were the only incident in an otherwise peaceful weekend of demonstrations in St. Louis to highlight the unresolved fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. The shooting sparked sometimes violent demonstrations in the predominantly black suburb of Ferguson, Missouri in August.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said at a news conference that early Sunday morning about 200 protesters gathered in a south St. Louis neighborhood where another black 18-year-old was killed by a white police officer recently. The group, including some protesters wearing masks, started marching toward a QuickTrip convenience store and tried to force open its doors, Dotson said.
“That was the first time (this weekend) we’ve seen individuals become disrespectful,” Dotson said.
Police assembled in riot gear and instructed the crowd to disperse, he said. About 50 of the marchers created a human chain by locking their arms and about half of them heeded the police warning and left.
A march that drew hundreds of people protesting fatal police shootings to St. Louis University overnight dwindled to about 20 people early Monday.
The protest began Sunday evening in Shaw, a south St. Louis neighborhood where last week a St. Louis police officer fatally shot a black 18-year-old. Police say Vonderrit Myers Jr. shot at officers first.
Police and campus security officials monitored the march and a sit-in but no arrests were reported. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports only about 20 protesters remained at the site as of 6:30 a.m. Monday.
Organizers say several other events and planned arrests are scheduled for Monday to continue protests that began when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by a white officer in Ferguson in August.