ACLU court hearing for lawsuit against St. Louis City comes to a - KMOV.com

ACLU court hearing for lawsuit against St. Louis City comes to a close

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Police in riot gear in downtown St. Louis.  Credit: KMOV Police in riot gear in downtown St. Louis. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

The hearing for a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri against the city of St. Louis ended Friday afternoon. The lawsuit was filed for what the ACLU called "unlawful and unconstitutional actions" used by St. Louis City police against people in the days following the Jason Stockley verdict. 

After three days of testimony, a federal judge must now decide if she will regulate how police handle protests in St. Louis. The ACLU has about 20 things it wants the judge to change regarding the way protests are handled.

When the suit was filed in September, the ACLU said the lawsuit specifically focuses on police use of chemical weapons, interfering with video of police activity, and violating due process during a "kettling" incident that led to more than 100 arrests. Much of the testimony revolved around the downtown demonstrations two days after the verdict during that "kettling" incident.

The ACLU wants additional training for officers and said police improperly declare protests to be "unlawful assemblies" and the rules are unconstitutionally vague.

On the other hand, police testified their behavior has been appropriate and that officers have been pelted with rocks, bricks and bottles.

Friday afternoon, the St. Louis City Attorney's Office released a statement saying they "feel good about the case."

The ACLU released a statement thanking the court for "listening to the voices of the people today." The statement also said this case is about the community's right to express its outrage and pain through nonviolent robust freedom of speech.

The community is now waiting to see how many, if any, of the roughly 20 ACLU requests the judge will grant. It is unclear at this point when the judge will make a decision.

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