ACLU urges federal court to stop 'unconstitutional' practices by -

ACLU urges federal court to stop 'unconstitutional' practices by St. Louis police

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ST. LOUIS ( -- The ACLU is asking the federal courts to step in and stop what it says are unconstitutional actions against protestors demonstrating against the Jason Stockley verdict.

The organization is asking the court to require St. Louis police to immediately adopt new protocols in dealing with the protests. Witness after witness took the stand at the Eagleton Federal Courthouse Wednesday, many saying they were pepper-sprayed during the protests on the day the Stockley verdict was announced, even after cooperating with police.

Others testified they were caught up in the "kettling" two nights after the verdict when some demonstrators broke windows in the downtown area.

Some testified they were not allowed to leave the area even after the order of dispersal was given.

Others said they never heard a dispersal order at all.

“We ask cops to do difficult job but also allow them to detain, arrest, use force, deadly force, said Jeffrey Mittman with the ACLU. “Because of those awesome responsibilities, it is essential, we as St. Louisans, as Missourians and Americans, expect and demand that our police do their jobs appropriately and constitutionally.”

Attorneys for the city contend police did give the orders.

There was a wide range of witnesses who took the stand today, including Alderwoman Megan Green, Pi Pizzeria owner Chris Sommers, the wife of State Representative Bruce Franks, a medical student and  an attorney who'd brought her teenage daughter to the protests.

Testimony is expected to continue Thursday.

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