Hospital calls Police to Raid Stage 4 Cancer Patient’s Hospital Room For Medical Marijuana

A shocking viral video showing a team of police entering and then searching the hospital room of man with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is fueling outrage in Bolivar, Missouri, where the incident took place and is renewing nation-wide debate over medical marijuana.

Multiple police officers initiated an unconsented surprise search on terminally ill patient Nolan Sousley’s hospital room on March 6 after hospital staff claimed he was using unauthorized medical marijuana. “If we find marijuana we’ll give you a citation, we’re not taking you down to the county jail,” said one officer, caught on Sousley’s cell phone video searching through his belongings. Sousley said, referencing hospital staff, “they already told me I’m gonna get arrested.”


Screen grab of the March 6 footage, via Nolan Sousley  

According to a local Fox affiliate Sousley had actually been “in the middle of a chemotherapy treatment at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar” before local officers raided the room, apparently with the cooperation of unnamed hospital staff.

Though it’s unclear exactly what the hospital thought was happening in the room, according to Newsweek, “The officer said that the department had received a call from someone who said they smelled weed coming from Sousley’s room.” Officers ultimately found no marijuana or any illegal substance during the search, but did reportedly find CBD Oil (Cannabidiol oil), which is legal.

“If we find marijuana we’ll give you a citation,” an officer threatened as another family member tried to plead with police, saying Sousley’s extreme pain means that doctors allow him a variety of medications. Sousley denied smoking marijuana or ingesting ground-up plants, but acknowledged he uses THC containing capsules for pain management.

The family was visibly upset at the spectacle of multiple police rifling through the sick man’s things. “It’s the only choice I got to live, man,” Sousley told the officers in the video. “We’re Americans. I was born here, it’s my right to live.”

Watch the shocking police search of a cancer patient’s hospital room below:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>A stage 4 cancer patient’s hospital room is searched by police for marijuana. Nolan, the patient, told the hospital and doctors about using THC capsules in place of prescribed opioids. This is why we need to legalize cannabis now. <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; MassRoots (@MassRoots) <a href=””>March 8, 2019</a></blockquote>

Things got tense when officers demanded to search a bag that Sousley said was filled with his medications and end of life related personal items. He said didn’t want police to “dig through that,” according to the video. “It has my final-day things in there, and nobody’s gonna dig in it,” Sousley said. “It’s my stuff.”

“My final hour stuff is in that bag” — he pleaded, but officers still insisted, and then proceeded to search through it.

Ironically Missouri voters late last year voted to legalize medical marijuana, a law which has yet to take effect (until July 4, 2019). USA Today presents one of the more outrageous moments of the video where police actually acknowledge this, but shrug it off and say “then it’s still illegal”, below:

At one point in the video, Sousley references the legal status of medical cannabis in the state. Last November, Missouri voters overwhelmingly chose to create a medical cannabis system, but the state will not be taking any applications for cannabis patient ID cards until July 4.

Referencing marijuana, Sousley says in the video “medically in Missouri, it’s really legal now. They just they haven’t finished the paperwork.”

“Okay, then it’s still illegal,” one of the officers replies.

“But I don’t have time to wait for that,” Sousley says “What would you do?”

The officer says he refuses to engage in “what if” games.

Halfway through the video a doctor enters the room — apparently unaware that other hospital staff had called 911 on suspicions of marijuana use  to try to assess the situation, and asks if the police have probable cause to search the patient’s things. “Do you have the right to search his stuff?” the doctor questions.

The police admit, “we haven’t found any marijuana yet so we’re not citing him.”

Following the incident, according to local reports, “Bolivar City Attorney Donald Brown said the city and the police chief are investigating the incident.” The police department involved is now receiving various threats over the now viral video“But Bolivar police said the department is getting threats since the video has been shared nearly 7,000 times on Facebook.”


Nolan Sousley, photo via Facebook

As for the hospital, a representative issued the following statement: “It is also our policy to call appropriate law enforcement any time hospital personnel see or reasonably suspect illegal drug use in patient rooms or otherwise on campus,” however, it’s as yet unclear exactly what hospital staff was alleging.

According to information provided by the family on Facebook, Sousley was informed he had pancreatic cancer starting in May of 2018, after he had been admitted to the hospital for jaundice and a blockage. Just before the March 6th incident, Sousley had been admitted after experiencing fevers, chills and sweats “to the point of drenching his bed,” according to family members.

But also ironic, and outrageous, is that it was the hospital itself that called 911 on Sousley on mere suspicion that he could have been using pain-controlling marijuana related substances.

One might also reasonably assume that the police had real criminals they could have been pursuing instead of launching a multiple officer invasive search of a cancer patient’s belongings.


At one point the doctor even tried to diffuse the situation by asking the police to vacate the room and perhaps conduct any search of bags in the hallway with the patient’s permission, to which they refused.

Near the end of the video the doctor can be heard telling Sousley after consulting with police to stop the “live” recording, or else “nobody’s going to help you out if you do this”.

Welcome to America in 2019, apparently.

Video Shows Police Raid On Stage 4 Cancer Patient’s Hospital Room For Medical Marijuana”,


Cop who shot fellow officer dead was drinking on duty, internal report alleges
St. Louis — In an internal police misconduct report obtained by CBS St. Louis affilitate KMOV-TV, a police lieutenant alleges both Officer Nathaniel Hendren and his partner “consumed alcoholic beverages” while on duty the night Officer Katlyn Alix was shot and killed by Hendren during a game of Russian roulette.Lieutenant William Brown filed the complaint at 1:30 a.m. on January 24, alleging “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer,” and suggesting both men also violated a regulation that says, “No employee shall report for duty or remain on duty with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater. Moreover, no employee shall consume alcohol while on duty and/or engaged in City business.”

In a news conference Thursday, Police Chief John Hayden said, “The circumstances around the shooting were much more reckless and dangerous than what I had originally understood.”

Hendren’s partner’s lawyer says his client had a few sips of beer at Hendren’s home but poured out the rest down the sink.

Police say Alix, Hendren and his partner met at Hendren’s apartment while Hendren and his partner were on-duty and Alix was off-duty.

Nathaniel Hendren, the St. Louis police officer accused of shooting and killing an off-duty officer in a Russian roulette-game, bonded out Thu., Jan. 31, 2019, and was seen leaving jail in this image provided by CBS affiliate KMOV-TV. KMOV-TV

The apartment is three miles outside the district to which Hendren and his partner were assigned.

Hendren reportedly produced a revolver, emptied the cylinder and then put one bullet cartridge back in the cylinder.

Hendren then spun the cylinder, pointed the gun away and pulled the trigger but it didn’t fire.

Alix then took the gun and pointed it at Hendren and pulled the trigger but the gun again didn’t fire.

Hendren then took the gun back from Alix and pulled the trigger, shooting Alix in the chest, police say. She later died at a hospital.

Katlyn Alix in undated photo CBS News

Hendren, charged with manslaughter, made bail Thursday after a judge raised his bond from $50,000 to $100,000. Only 10 percent of that amount was needed to make bail.

Hendren is under house arrest and can’t have access to firearms but it was unclear if he’s confined to his home,  with nearby relatives or somewhere else.

Hayden said effective immediately, supervisors and commanders will be present at all roll calls to reinforce with officers that they must stay in their assigned districts.

Watch commanders will also confirm the location of their officers every hour using radios and GPS tracking information.

/ CBS News, “Cop who shot fellow officer dead was drinking on duty, internal report alleges”,

Sadism in the St. Louis Police Department

Jim Young / Reuters
Last year, former police officer Jason Stockley was on trial in St. Louis, Missouri, for the shooting death of a black motorist named Anthony Smith.He was acquitted, sparking street protests.

The St. Louis police activated what it calls its Civil Disobedience Team. Among the cops assigned to it were Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, and Christopher Myers, who sent texts to one another expressing their excitement and glee at the prospect of brutalizing protesters, according to federal prosecutors who reviewed their communications.

“Let’s whoop some ass,” Myers allegedly texted.

“The more the merrier!!!” Boone allegedly replied. “It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!! But it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of those shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” He went on to describe a fellow police officer as “a BIG OL black dude” who is “hands on,” and who is “basically a thug that’s on our side. It’s he and I that just grab fuckers and toss em around.” Later he described cops loading protesters onto prison buses while saying “Our streets,” in unison, mocking their chant. He added, “Did everyone see the protesters getting FUCKED UP in the galleria????? That was awesome.”

Hays allegedly explained, “It’s extremely frustrating, but you’ll eat yourself up inside if you don’t just let it go and deal with it when it comes. And this one is easy because we both are good, going rogue does feel good, but I’ve been elected to be the driver of a Tahoe, so if I get involved tonight, shit has hit the fan.” He added, “Remember we are in south city. They support us but also cameras. So make sure you have an old white dude as a witness.”

On September 17, 2017, these men put their sadistic language into practice, according to an indictment filed against them last week.

“The defendants threw L.H. to the ground and then kicked and struck L.H. while he was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone,” it states. “This offense resulted in bodily injury to L.H. and included the use of a dangerous weapon, that is: shod feet and a riot baton.”

They most likely would still be on the street, with their badges, their guns, and the ability to inflict lethal force, if not for the fact that L.H. happened to be an undercover police officer. “We’ve had several incidents of protesters and activists being the victims of excessive use of force and police abusing their authority without ever seeing charges like this,” Rev. Darryl Gray, a protest organizer, told The Washington Post.

An attorney who filed brutality lawsuits on behalf of 23 protesters told AP, “The text messages confirm our suspicions that these officers were using the anonymity of their SWAT uniforms and face masks after removing their name tags so that they could beat citizens with impunity.”

Now four officers await an early December court date, where they are expected to plead not guilty. According to the indictment, Myers “did knowingly destroy and mutilate L.H.’s cellular phone, a tangible object used to record and preserve information.” All three men allegedly conspired to influence the testimony of potential witnesses. One fellow officer, Bailey Colletta, was indicted for lying about the incident.

“St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said that her office has dismissed 91 criminal cases associated with four St. Louis police officers,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, adding this striking detail:

Gardner stopped accepting cases from the four officers in question, “When we learned these officers were under investigation and the reason for the investigation,” spokeswoman Susan Ryan said Friday. “That was in late August, early September,” she said. A source told the Post-Dispatch that those cases had been issued between 2016 and this year.

Several were issued after the alleged assault on Hall took place, and well into the federal investigation into the incident, according to a source. That means the accused officers were on duty, actively making arrests and building cases while they were the subjects of a federal criminal investigation. It is not clear whether they were ever disciplined internally or put on administrative duty during the investigation.

St. Louis prosecutors seem to have all sorts of problems with St. Louis police officers––they keep a list of the ones they won’t work with, but won’t reveal those names to the public and the cops remain on the job.

Additional information about police misconduct during the Stockley protests may emerge as more than a dozen federal lawsuits filed against the police department make their way through the courts.“The suits claim police violated the arrestees’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from unlawful seizure and their First Amendment rights to assemble in public and express their views free from retaliation,” the PostDispatch reports. “The suits also say police conspired to deprive them of their civil rights and that the city failed to properly train officers to avoid violating the rights of protesters or others.”


4 St. Louis Police Officers Indicted for Violating Civil Rights of Police Shooting Protesters

A 2017 protest against the acquittal of a St. Louis police officer for killing an African-American generated some more police misconduct. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

During the latter stages of the struggle to end Jim Crow and beyond, federal civil rights laws often proved essential in seeking justice for African-Americans when local law enforcement officials (or in some cases, juries) refused to take action against violent racists.

It’s another matter altogether, though, when the alleged violent racists are themselves local law enforcement agents. That’s why this news from St. Louis (as reported by HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly) is significant:

Four St. Louis police officers were indicted on federal civil rights charges Thursday in connection with their actions during an unconstitutional crackdown on a protest last year.

A federal grand jury indicted St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, on felony charges that included deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.

The charges stemmed from an incident during September 2017 protests against the acquittal of former St. Louis policeman Jason Stockley on murder charges in connection with his 2011 killing of an African-American, Anthony Lamar Smith, after a high-speed chase subsequent to an alleged drug deal. At the time of the protests, police officers were observed behaving in an angry, confrontational manner, serious enough that a federal judge later admonished them for seeking to violate protesters’ First Amendment rights. More recently evidence emerged that three of the officers present during the protests went way over the line and later (along with a fourth officer) lied about it. That’s what led to the current indictment:

The indictment alleges that at least three of the defendants “expressed disdain for the Stockley protesters and excitement about using unjustified force against them and going undetected while doing so.” It features text messages between three of the defendants in which they joked about using force against protesters demonstrating against the Stockley verdict.

“let’s whoop some ass,” [Christopher] Myers wrote.

“it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart” wrote [Dustin] Boone. “We really need these fuckers to start acting up so we can have some fun.”

Boone later wrote that it was a “blast beating people that deserve it” and bragged about chanting “OUR STREETS” with other cops after they locked “fools up on prison busses.”

The “our streets” chant was a mocking reference to one of the slogans of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. That’s rather questionable conduct from members of what was called the SLPD’s Civil Disobedience Team, deployed to keep things calm.

Their big mistake, the indictment suggests, was beating up an unarmed undercover cop who was in a pretty good position to testify against them, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes:

After learning that the person they attacked was an undercover officer, the three male officers lied about the arrest, claiming he resisted arrest and was not compliant, the indictment says. They also tried to contact the undercover officer to dissuade him from pursuing disciplinary or legal action, the indictment says.

A fourth officer, a woman, allegedly helped cover it all up.

So all in all, the four officers were indicted by a federal grand jury “on felony charges that included deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.”

Questions remain as to whether these actions, if proven, represented rogue police misconduct or a more pervasive pattern. In St. Louis, the latter is a real possibility.

,, “4 St. Louis Police Officers Indicted for Violating Civil Rights of Police Shooting Protesters”,

Police Brutality Against Kansas City Man Caught on Video

By Gillian Wilcox, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Missouri

Stop and frisk

Black people in Missouri are disproportionately stopped or harassed by police. Twenty years of collected data shows Black drivers are stopped at a rate 85 percent higherthan white drivers. And too many police departments across the state regularly use disproportionate force in dealing with minority individuals.

Missouri offers yet another example. Josh Bills, a Black man living in Kansas City, found himself on the receiving end of just this kind of police misconduct.

In December 2013, walking blocks from his home, Bills was approached by five officers who surrounded him. He greeted the officers calmly. He stood with his hands down to his sides at a 45-degree angle. He did not act aggressively.

The police stopped him because of a call about a “Black man, black clothing.” Then the encounter went south — a scene emblematic of racialized policing that is all too familiar. Despite being cooperative with the officers, Officer Jordan Nelson, without warning, grabbedone of Bills’ arms and violently kicked his legs out from under him, smashing his face into the concrete.

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As Bills lay on the ground, injured and motionless, another officer knelt on his back to restrain him while they placed him under arrest. Chillingly, a few minutes after the brutal altercation, Nelson re-enacted the takedown for his fellow officers at the scene while Bills was still lying on the pavement waiting for medical attention.

And it was all caught on video.

Bills has been denied justice for the violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. So the ACLU of Missouri sued. As a Black resident of Kansas City, Bills was no stranger to racial profiling and police abuse.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened to me — when a police officer has said, ‘Hey, you look suspicious’ for no reason other than my skin color,” Bills said. “It’s not even the first time I’ve been roughed up. It’s just the first time I’ve been able to draw attention to it. My existence shouldn’t be cause for concern.”Bills was held in jail for two weeks without bond following the incident. He lost his job.

Bills’ physical injuries are no longer visible, but his emotions remain raw. “I’m not anti-police,” he said. “But I do think that there are some officers who hide behind their badge. And too many other officers do nothing to stop them.”

Bills lost faith in the police and understandably avoids them at all costs. “You just don’t know which ones are trustworthy,” he said. Bills’ fear of law enforcement is representative of the wider breach of trust between law enforcement and people of color nationwide.

Four officers stood by and chose not to intervene the night Bills was brutalized. They each had the opportunity to take a stand and do their jobs by halting the abuse. Or they could have reported their fellow officer after the incident. The breach of duty extends to all the officers involved, not just Nelson.

The state is no stranger to discrimination and abuse of force in policing. Every Missouri law enforcement agency should implement anti-discrimination training, de-escalation training, and stronger and more well defined use-of-force policies, and they must hold officers accountable when they violate those policies and the law. This is the first step to building trust between police and the communities they serve.

The ACLU of Missouri is committed to making community-focused policing that respects the Fourth Amendment a priority. When we asked Bills what he hoped his experience and case would change, he said he wanted the Kansas City Police Department to be held accountable and to not treat anyone else like this again. And his call for accountability should echo across the nation. Police departments need to demonstrate a commitment to fairly protect the communities they serve, not make them targets of police misconduct.

Gillian Wilcox, ACLU of Missouri, OCTOBER 12, 2018, “Police Brutality Against Black Kansas City Man Caught on Video”,

Officer who killed Aurora mother once falsified report about alleged police brutality


The Aurora police officer who fatally shot a 21-year-old mother during a traffic stop Saturday has a checkered past, court records show.

The News-Leader looked into David Chatman after learning he was the officer who fatally shot Savannah Hill, the driver of a car that allegedly struck another officer during the incident.

What the News-Leader found is that Chatman once falsified a report to cover up alleged police brutality, worked at five different law enforcement agencies over four years and left at least two recent jobs on bad terms.

The Lawrence County prosecutor said Friday that he has cleared Chatman of any wrongdoing in connection with Saturday’s shooting.

Neither the Aurora Police Department nor the Missouri State Highway Patrol (which investigated the shooting) has released the names of the officers involved in Saturday’s shooting.

Chatman was first publicly identified in documents filed by prosecutors to charge 19-year-old Mason Farris with murder.

Farris was wanted for a parole violation, troopers say, and Hill was cooperating with Aurora police to arrest him during a traffic stop.

When police pulled over Hill as planned, Farris allegedly pushed down on Hill’s leg, causing the car to lurch backward and strike an officer.

Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter said Hill was “completely innocent.”

“It’s unfortunate that the wrong person was shot,” Trotter said.

Troopers say the officer who fired at the driver feared for his life.

When asked if he was aware that Chatman had once falsified a police report in Arkansas, Aurora Police Chief Richard Witthuhn told the News-Leader he was not aware.

Prior to the filing of charges, Witthuhn refused to say whether or not Chatman was involved in Saturday’s shooting.

Chatman has been employed by the Aurora Police Department for less than a year, state licensing records show.

The Arkansas Department of Corrections said Chatman was working in one of its prisons as recently as September.

Before that, Chatman worked six different stints at five different law enforcement agencies over a four-year span, according to an Arkansas official.

City and county officials told the News-Leader that Chatman left two of those jobs — including his job at Bull Shoals, Arkansas — on bad terms.

Bull Shoals is a town of about 2,000 people in north-central Arkansas.

In July 2013, the police chief, Chatman and another officer responded to a domestic disturbance at a Bull Shoals home that would later be dissected in federal court.

Chatman recounted in a 2015 deposition that the chief kicked down the door without probable cause.

Once inside, Chatman said the chief used a shotgun to strike a man inside the home, then used a stun gun.

Chatman then described getting on top of the suspect and handcuffing him.

The chief then struck the handcuffed man in the head with the butt of his shotgun, Chatman said. Chatman said he intentionally left that part out of his police report — and later lied to the FBI about it.

It wasn’t until about 40 minutes into his interview with the FBI that Chatman said he told the truth.

Chatman, who was never prosecuted in connection with the alleged beating, said he was given partial immunity for agreeing to testify in federal court.

The other Bull Shoals officer who responded to the domestic disturbance said much more happened than a single blow to the head, federal court records show.

That officer told the FBI he cried after witnessing the chief kick the handcuffed man in the head twice, then stomp on his head. The third officer said Chatman knelt nearby and watched in silence.

The police chief, Daniel Sutterfield, was prosecuted, but charges were dropped after Sutterfield agreed to resign as chief, give up his Arkansas law enforcement certification and never serve again as a law enforcement officer.

Chatman eventually left the Bull Shoals Police Department in 2014, said the city’s current mayor, David Nixon. Nixon stressed he became mayor after Chatman’s departure.

“I was told by people whose information should be reliable that (Chatman) did not leave under good circumstances,” Nixon said.

According to Brad King, the deputy director of Arkansas’s Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training, Chatman worked at several law enforcement agencies in northern Arkansas.

King said starting in November 2011, Chatman was a part-time officer in the cities of Flippin, then Bull Shoals, then Cotter.

Chatman came back to Bull Shoals to work full-time, King said, then worked at the Jasper Police Department in Jasper, Arkansas and finished up at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office in 2015.

While working as a part-time officer, Chatman also worked as a jailer for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, according to Sheriff Clinton Evans.

Evans, who was not the sheriff at the time of Chatman’s employment, said records show Chatman was a jailer from August 2006 to October 2007 and again from November 2010 to October 2012.

According to Evans, department records show Chatman was terminated after failing to come back to work after a trip to New Jersey to help with disaster relief in October 2012.

That’s about the time Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast.

The father of the woman shot by Chatman said his daughter, Savannah Hill, was a mother of two young children and worked with veterans as a certified nursing assistant.

“My daughter was the type of person, if you were having a bad day and she was having a bad day, she’d find a way to make your day better,” Chris Nethery said. “As a father, I couldn’t be more ecstatic about how she handled her life. It’s a tragedy it ended this way. It’s a tragedy it ended so soon.”

Nethery told the News-Leader Monday that he wanted people to pray for his family and think of the memories they had with his daughter.

Giacomo Bologna, May 11, 2018, Springfield News Leader, “Officer who killed Aurora mother once falsified report about alleged police brutality”,

Three years after Ferguson, the same old concerns rise in St. Louis protests

Protesters gather outside the St. Louis City Justice Center for a protest days after the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. (Whitney Curtis/for The Washington Post)

It was six days into this city’s latest round of protests over racial injustice, six days since another white police officer was acquitted in the shooting of another black man, and a typically dull meeting of the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment had just turned — like so many other things here — into a display of anger and passion.

“Lyda Krewson, vote yes!” a few dozen people shouted across the packed room at the city’s new mayor, who just months into her job is facing an intense pressure that has been here for years.

In the streets, throngs of protesters during the past week have called on her and her government to get serious about overhauling a local police force that they say is racist, abusive and unjust.

The powerful police union and its supporters want her to do just the opposite: come out strongly in support of the police and condemn the protesters, who have smashed windows and disrupted commerce.

And on this day, in this meeting, a fellow lawmaker and a room full of people who supported the protests were urging her to approve a hastily drafted body camera trial program for police officers — something that she supports but that she thinks needs careful consideration and budgeting.

“I’ll vote today in favor of body cameras, but is there any way we can actually go about this in a proper way?” she finally said.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) speaks during a news conference at City Hall. (Whitney Curtis/for The Washington Post)

It has been three years since a white police officer in the nearby suburb of Ferguson, Mo., killed an unarmed black 18-year-old named Michael Brown, setting off a wave of protests and a police response that captured worldwide attention. The protests spawned the Black Lives Matter movement, threw a spotlight on the way police departments across America treat black citizens and highlighted the growing militarization of the country’s police forces.

Three years, new leadership, same old concerns.

As Krewson said this week: “We here in St. Louis are once again ground zero for the frustration and anger.”

In Missouri, the backlash to Brown’s 2014 killing gave rise to a stack of reports and hundreds of recommendations for how police can do a better job of meting out justice fairly and safely, aiming to replace rage in the streets with respect and cooperation.

But although the state passed a law that makes it more difficult for local municipalities to treat their poor, often black, citizens as sources of revenue through aggressive ticketing and jailing — a major source of anger ahead of the Ferguson protests — there has been little action by local police departments toward resolving or even acknowledging the existence of racial discrimination.

“There are all these policy recommendations and proposals that have all, for the most part, been ignored by city officials and leadership in the police department,” said Kayla Reed, a local college student and activist with the St. Louis Action Council who emerged as a prominent voice during the Ferguson protests. “I think what we are seeing is a real reluctance to listen to the community, to step into leadership about ushering in a new era of progress. And that, plus continued repression and brutality at the hands of the police, have ignited once again those feelings like, ‘We have to take to the streets, we have to shut things down, we have to show we’re not going anywhere.’ ”

Protesters gather outside the St. Louis City Justice Center. (Whitney Curtis/for The Washington Post)
‘Is it okay if I frisk you?’

The latest bout of anger kicked off Sept. 15, when a circuit court judge acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a 24-year-old black man named Anthony Lamar Smith.

Stockley had engaged Smith in a high-speed police chase after Smith crashed into Stockley’s police car. Stockley, who declared during the chase that he was “going to kill this motherf—er, don’t you know it,” ultimately shot Smith at close range through a car window. Prosecutors alleged that Stockley also planted a gun on Smith because only Stockley’s DNA was found on the weapon. But the judge, Timothy Wilson, wrote in a detailed decision at the conclusion of a bench trial that he wasn’t convinced that Stockley was guilty: The former officer would walk free.

To many St. Louis residents, particularly in the city’s predominantly black northern neighborhoods, it was Michael Brown all over again.

“No justice, no peace!” they chanted during day and night protests, a small group of them clashing with police, hurling rocks and paint, and smashing windows of businesses and the mayor’s house.

It was the same anger as three years ago, in large part because little has changed about the conditions of life in and around St. Louis. It is still a racially divided city, activists say. And it is still one of the most violent cities in America, a place where police say they come into contact with people carrying weapons on a daily basis.

“We’ve led the nation in homicides per capita for the past two years, and we’re on track to lead the country again,” said Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 68, which represents 1,100 St. Louis city officers on a force in which the starting salary is $42,000 and where “stress” is a word that officials often use to describe officers’ state of mind.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, city police have shot and killed more people this year — eight — than in any other year in the past decade.

In the Ville, the neighborhood where Smith was living before he was killed, the racial disparities run deep. The black community is underserved in access to education, jobs and a wide range of public services, activists and city officials say.

The brick houses are dilapidated and abandoned. Many have broken or boarded-up windows. And no one is out in the street during the day because there is nowhere to go: nowhere to work, nowhere to shop, residents say. If you have a job, you drive to it someplace else.

Poverty and crime are just as rampant, if not more so, than they were in the past, residents say. And all of it contributes to the toxic cycle of mistrust and resentment between a predominantly white police force and a predominantly black community in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

A black person sitting outside on the porch is all that’s necessary to attract police attention, residents say. Officers will pull up, ask for identification and then frisk, said Ronnie Bartee and Kerry Tate, who were standing outside Tate’s carwash on a recent afternoon. “You ain’t gotta be doing nothing,” said Bartee, 43.

“Their favorite words are: ‘Is it okay if I frisk you?’ ” said Tate, 48.

A spokeswoman for the police department did not respond to those allegations. “We hold our officers to the highest standards of professionalism, and any officer not meeting those standards will be held accountable,” Leah K. Freeman said. “Anyone who would like to make a complaint of officer misconduct is encouraged to contact our Internal Affairs Division.”

Ronnie Bartee and Kerry Tate speak during an interview at Tate’s business, Clean Tracks Car Wash, in St. Louis on Sept. 19. (Whitney Curtis/for The Washington Post)
Allegations of misconduct

One of the foremost obstacles to police restructuring, activists across the country have said, is the justice system’s failure to hold police accountable for violations.

“We have a pattern of not holding our officers accountable,” said Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, an association of mostly black police officers that has repeatedly challenged bias within the St. Louis police force. Everyone in the department’s internal unit tasked with investigating police-involved shootings is white, she added.

The police department confirmed that the five-person unit is all white.

“There are three different types of anger,” said April Floyd, a local writer and a regular attendee at protests. There is the righteous justice crowd that has responded to these realities with cries of “no justice, no peace,” thinking that enough noise can yield results. There are those who believe in shutting down the “process” — obstructing local business, for example, as a way to call attention to the cause, Floyd said. And there are those “who believe, ‘You hit me, and I’m going to hit you back,’ ” she added.

Of all the grievances cited by protesters since the Sept. 15 verdict, after days of sometimes-violent clashes with tossed bricks, clouds of pepper spray and sweeping arrests, the story that is perhaps most provocative of protester rage was the chanting Sept. 17.

“Whose streets? Our streets,” police chanted, after corralling a group of protesters and lining them up against a wall.

“Officers were high-fiving each other,” said John Ziegler, an activist and videographer who had been live-streaming the protest under the Twitter handle “@Rebelutionary_Z.” They were pointing at their arrestees and snapping pictures, saying things like, “They’re communists and socialists,” and “They’re here to destroy America,” Ziegler said.

The next day, interim police chief Lawrence O’Toole declared “we owned tonight.” And the day after that, a St. Louis police officer posted a picture on social media of a Black Lives Matter protest with the words “THE KLAN WITH A TAN” and “DOMESTIC TERRORISTS.”

The mayor said the allegations of misconduct, including the police chants and the officer’s social-media post, are under investigation.

A police spokesman defended the department’s actions during the recent protests but declined to answer specific questions about police conduct.

“The department has facilitated peaceful and lawful demonstrations to ensure those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights can safely do so. We deploy tactics when criminal activity arises and escalation depends on the level of aggression,” police spokeswoman Schron Y. Jackson wrote in an email. “The police department strives to employ best practices; however, we are always open to new ideas.”

Krewson promised that the allegations of misconduct would be investigated internally by the police department, as well as by the Department of Public Safety. She called the police chief’s comment “inflammatory.” She condemned the “institutional racism” ­plaguing American society and vowed to make St. Louis a leader in resolving its long-standing inequality. She praised police for their “restraint” and dismissed the allegation that police misconduct and racism were widespread.

Then she canceled the week’s town hall meetings — the only formal opportunity in the wake of the Stockley verdict for residents to vent their questions and complaints in a public forum.

And no one really seemed satisfied.

Monica Butler and April Floyd arrived at a mayoral town hall meeting at Vashon High School in St. Louis only to find out it was canceled. (Whitney Curtis/for The Washington Post)

“I really feel for her. She’s afraid,” Floyd said. “But she has to listen to people. She has to know how to comfort people.”

Krewson knows that such meetings are important. She knows the protesters think she’s being too weak. She knows the police think so, too. Asked whether the rank and file were upset with her, she acknowledged on a recent afternoon that they “probably” were.

A friend who she has known for three decades had just sent her a couple of angry text messages — she, too, was disappointed.

“She’s very mad at me,” Krewson said. “She thinks I don’t support police. She thinks that you can’t support protesters’ First Amendment rights and still support police.”

Krewson looked tired. “But that isn’t hard for me to see at all.”

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson speaks during a news conference. (Whitney Curtis/for The Washington Post)
September 24, 2017, The Washington Post, “Three years after Ferguson, the same old concerns rise in St. Louis protests”,

ACLU sues St. Louis alleging police misconduct during protests

ACLU sues St. Louis alleging police misconduct during protests
© Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri on Friday filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Louis alleging police officers engaged in “unlawful and unconstitutional actions” against demonstrators protesting the acquittal of a white former police officer in the death of a black motorist.

The lawsuit accused police of improperly using chemical weapons, interfering with video of police activity and unlawfully detaining protesters at a Sunday demonstration when officers used a tactic called “kettling” to corral protesters.

The ACLU of Missouri filed the lawsuit on behalf of two women — Maleeha Ahmad and Alison Dreith — who participated in the protests. Both women were allegedly sprayed in the face with pepper spray without warning on Sept. 15.Last week, a judge found former police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, touching off days of protest in downtown St. Louis.

Stockley shot Smith after a high-speed chase. According to a court document, the police officer was heard saying during the chase that he was “going to kill this motherf—er, don’t you know it.”

The former officer said Smith was holding a gun, but only Stockley’s DNA was found on the weapon. Prosecutors allege that he planted the gun.

Police have arrested more than 160 protesters since demonstrations began on Sept. 15.

A hundred twenty people were arrested Sunday night during a demonstration in downtown St. Louis, when police used “kettling” — a method of grouping protestors in a small area for crowd control — to box in protesters.

Police had previously ordered protesters to disperse. But many people argued that they were unable to leave the area, because police had effectively blocked them from doing so, consequently leading to the arrests.

4 Cops Indicted for Beating Undercover Cop during Anti-Police Brutality Protest


St. Louis police officer Dustin Boone, left, one of four cops indicted for beating an undercover police officer during an anti-police brutality protest, which resulted in many arrests, including the one of the man on the right.

by Carlos Miller, edited

The St. Louis cops thought he was a protester. He turned out to be a St. Louis cop.

Four St. Louis cops were indicted Thursday for the beating and coverup of an undercover cop during an anti-police brutality protest last year.

The cops thought he was a protester, so they figured they had the right to abuse him and get away with it.

But he turned out to be an undercover cop from their own police department, a 22-year veteran identified as Luther Hall, who has been unable to go back to work since the beating.

One of the cops destroyed Hall’s phone in an attempt to destroy evidence, so Hall appears to have been recording, according to the indictment, which can be read here.

The incident took place on September 15, 2017 during protests following the acquittal of St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. A journalist was also arrested that night.

The cops who are accused of physically abusing him are Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers. A fourth cop, Baily Colletta, who was in a romantic relationship with Hays, is accused of providing false statements to federal investigators about the beating.

Prior to the beating, the cops exchanged messages expressing disdain for protesters and looking forward to beating them.

“It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these (expletive) once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” ” Boone said in a message

The cops are also also accused of trying to intimidate L.H. from following through with is complaint.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The undercover officer is identified only by the initials “L.H.” The age, gender and initials match only one officer: Luther Hall. Hall was working undercover aiding other officers in identifying criminal activity, sources said.

At the time of the assault, police sources said Hall suffered a bloody lip during his arrest.

But sources close to Hall said Thursday that injuries from the assault were much more extensive. He has not been able to return to work.

Hall was kicked in the face, which inflamed his jaw muscles to the point where he could not eat. He went from about 185 pounds to 165.

The cut above his lip was a two centimeter hole that went through his face.

He also sustained an injury to his tailbone, which still causes him pain, the sources said.

And in October, he underwent surgery to repair two herniated discs in his neck and one in his back. He is still wearing a collar to keep his neck immobile.

The following is a collection of messages sent by Boone prior to the beating.

Carlos Miller, ,, “4 Cops Indicted for Beating Undercover Cop during Anti-Police Brutality Protest”,


As arrests are made, protesters question the tactics used by St. Louis police

ST. LOUIS • Police used a technique called kettling on Sunday night to box in about 100 people at a busy downtown intersection and arrest them for failing to disperse.

It’s a tactic used to corral a group of people who fail to follow police orders. St. Louis police took the action after several windows were broken and concrete planters and trash cans overturned.

But some of those caught in the box made by rows of officers said police overstepped their bounds, using excessive force and chemical spray on people who were not protesting, including residents trying to get home and members of the media. As police closed in from all sides, they struck their batons in unison on the pavement, in a cadence march.

Tony Rice, an activist who goes by Search4Swag on Twitter, said he was shocked by the police behavior.

“It was the most brutal arrest I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Rice said. “I thought I was going to die.”

He said he could not lie prone on the ground, as ordered, because he had his bike with him.

Rice said his neck was being pressed against part of his bike, and he told the officers: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

Autoplay: On | Off

Those bused to the jail seemed confused by what was happening, Rice said. Pedestrians were arrested along with legal observers, protesters, a freelance photographer and a doctor, he said.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk was caught in the kettle Sunday night. A line of bike cops formed across Washington Avenue, east of Tucker Boulevard and police in helmets carrying shields and batons blocked the other three sides of the intersection at Tucker and Washington. Faulk heard the repeated police command, “Move back. Move back.” He had nowhere to go.

The police lines moved forward, trapping dozens of people — protesters, journalists, area residents and observers alike. Multiple officers knocked Faulk down, he said, and pinned his limbs to the ground. A firm foot pushed his head into the pavement. Once he was subdued, he recalled, an officer squirted pepper spray in his face.


Faulk arrested
Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk was caught in the sweep when police arrested dozens of people at the corner of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard after they said they told protesters to disperse late on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Photo by David Carson,

Police loaded Faulk into a van holding about eight others and took him to the city jail on Tucker, a few blocks to the south. He arrived about midnight and was released about 1:30 p.m. Monday after posting a $50 bond. Faulk was charged with failure to disperse, a municipal charge.

Nigel Jernigan, 27, a cook from Jennings, said he came downtown around 9 p.m. Sunday to join others protesting the not-guilty verdict in the case of former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley, accused of murdering Anthony Lamar Smith.


Police arrest protesters
Police arrest dozens of people at the corner of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard after telling protesters to disperse late on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Photo by David Carson,

In doing so, he got caught up in the sweep by police. He said he saw officers hit and roughhouse people around him on the ground who wouldn’t put their hands behind their backs.

“Most of the people who didn’t have their hands behind their backs were making sure they weren’t pepper sprayed in the face,” he said.

Jernigan said he put his face to the concrete. He said he heard police chant and yell even though the majority of the protesters were already terrified from being cornered and not allowed to leave.

Autoplay: On | Off

Dellicia Jones, 23, said she and her boyfriend were also caught up in the sweep. She said she hadn’t participated in any of the earlier protests but wanted to see what was happening Sunday night.

She and her boyfriend parked on Washington Avenue and joined other people who were mostly standing around and talking, Jones said. After about 30 minutes, police began advancing while banging their batons on the ground in unison.

She and her boyfriend were quickly boxed in. “When we tried to walk one way, they came at us with pepper spray and batons and told us to go the other way,” Jones said, but they had nowhere to turn.

Jones said she wasn’t treated roughly by the officers who arrested her but she saw others who were hit with pepper spray and some who were slammed to the ground.

She thinks police were too harsh in how they swept in on the protesters.

“It was nowhere near right, at all,” Jones said a few hours after she was released from the City Justice Center. She had spent about 15 hours there and was among the many charged with failure to disperse.

Controversial tactic

Kettling has been used across the country as well as in Europe to defuse violent situations, which is how police described their Sunday night actions. After several hours of peaceful protests, which started at police headquarters west of downtown, the group of about 1,000 people moved to the St. Louis University campus and then back to the police station. Then a group peeled off and headed downtown, where several windows of businesses were broken, and concrete planters and trash cans overturned. Police warned protesters several times to disperse, saying it was no longer a peaceful assembly.


Downtown St. Louis protest turns destructive
People run up Olive Street in St. Louis as some windows are broken and bicycle police begin arriving in the area on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Photo by David Carson,

Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties of Missouri, said his office has been busy fielding complaints and been in contact with Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office as well as Acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole regarding what Rothert called inappropriate police behavior.

“We’re exploring whether litigation will be necessary to bring police in line with the Constitution,” Rothert said.

He said examples of questionable behavior by police include use of chemical sprays and ordering people to stop recording officers and to delete images they had already taken.

“And then engaging in kettling, which caused people who were doing nothing wrong to be detained and arrested along with those who were breaking the law,” Rothert said. “It has been used infamously and does very often bring in journalists, legal observers and innocent bystanders. It was used at the presidential inauguration (in January) in D.C., and in New York during Occupy Wall Street. It’s really a military tactic for controlling crowds and controversial because it leads to constitutional violations.”

Rothert said he is unaware of it ever being used in St. Louis before Sunday night “and I don’t recall it ever happening during Ferguson or any of the other protests of police shootings.”

The St. Louis Police Department said the design of the area downtown St. Louis prompted their actions Sunday night.

“The geographical layout of the area, and not a technique, dictated how tactics were deployed,” a police spokesman said in a statement Monday.

Police said anyone who wants to make a complaint about officer misconduct can contact the Internal Affairs Division at, 314-444-5652 or in person at Police Headquarters, 1915 Olive Boulevard.

Used in Portland

In November 2014, when it was announced that a grand jury would not indict former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, protests broke out across the country, including in Portland, Ore., where kettling was used to control a crowd of about 100 demonstrators. Ten people were arrested for disorderly conduct or interfering with police, but prosecutors dismissed the cases.

A citizen review board determined that orders by police brass to have officers corral and arrest the group of protesters was unlawful. The board investigated after about 40 complaints were made to the city’s Independent Police Review Division, a part of the city auditor’s office.

Constantin Severe, director of the Independent Police Review, said those who complained said there was a “lack of articulation” by officers as to what the demonstrators were doing wrong. And without that component, police were wrong in kettling the group, which makes it impossible for anyone boxed in by police officers to leave, he said.

Severe said that after the findings, the Portland Police Department vowed to use the kettling procedure rarely, and stopped for nearly two years. They resumed the practice after Donald Trump was elected president, which launched several protests in Portland including one in June where kettling was used again.

“Those on the protest side say (kettling) is killing our First Amendment rights,” Severe said.

Police say it’s an effective way to defuse a volatile situation without resorting to violence. Portland is reviewing police policy on crowd containment, he said.

David Klinger, a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said that kettling serves a lawful purpose when crowds disobey police orders to leave an area. Those who have done nothing wrong should not pick that particular time to try to wage a debate with officers.

“If you are in a crowd and next to a guy that is breaking the law and police say it’s an unlawful assembly, you are going to get scooped up if you don’t leave,” said Klinger, a former Los Angeles police officer.

He said many of those protesting have done so before and know that in a volatile situation, ignoring failures to disperse typically leads to arrest.

“This is no time to play the victim game,” Klinger said. “It’s time to leave.”