St Louis Police say an elderly woman who was knocked down by officers was disobeying orders, and has been charged with “interfering”.
A local Fox station caught the incident on camera while covering protests in St Louis, Missouri this weekend. In the video, police with plastic shields can be seen advancing on the woman, ultimately pushing her to the ground. Several officers continue to move forward, stepping over her body, while others physically block protesters who appear to be trying to help her.
Afterward, officers can be seen helping the woman up and escorting her out of the view of the camera.
The video stirred outcry online, where some accused the officers of assaulting the woman.
“They could have broken her hip like that,” one Twitter user wrote. “Who is that evil?”
The police department eventually responded to the backlash with a tweet, saying: “Woman knocked down during demonstration shown in @FOX2now’s video failed to obey officers’ orders & was charged w/ ‘Interfering’.”
The department did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
Hundreds of people rallied in St Louis on Friday to protest the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a former St Louis police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith. Mr Stockley maintains he shot Mr Smith because he believed he was reaching for a handgun. Prosecutors claim he planted the gun in Mr Smith’s car after the fact.
A circuit court judge acquitted Mr Stockley on Friday, ruling that the state failed to prove the officer did not act in self-defence.
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At least 1,000 people swarmed St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house on Friday night to protest the verdict.
Police said protesters broke windows at the house and damaged the city’s public library. They added that nine officers were injured in the protests, and said one officer had been taken to hospital after being hit with a thrown brick.
Police eventually resorted to using tear gas and pepper spray on the protestors. More than 30 people were arrested overnight.
“Rocks & water bottles have been thrown at our officers throughout the day,” the department tweeted on Friday. “Officers used great restraint.”