Judge: St. Louis police can't spray chemicals on protesters
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that St. Louis police can't shut down non-violent protests or use chemical agents such as mace to punish people demonstrating against police conduct.
The Wednesday order responds to an American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri lawsuit against St. Louis over police tactics during ongoing protests following the acquittal of a white former police officer in the 2011 killing of a black man.
The lawsuit accused police of unnecessarily using tear gas and pepper spray, arresting bystanders and a journalist, and taunting some of those arrested. Police say protesters threw rocks at officers, sprayed some with unknown substances and shattered shop windows.
The order applies while the lawsuit moves through court. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry wrote it's needed to protect First Amendment rights during protests.