Protestors occupied the St. Louis City police headquarters, at 1915 Olive St. – saying it was part of their New Year’s resolution is “to take back our justice system, and in doing so reclaiming the promise of our future.”
At 11 a.m., a diverse group of about 20 entered the headquarters with a list of 11 demands – including more transparent police protocol and required screenings of officers fired from other police departments. They sat in a circle in a hallway, where activist Elizabeth Vega shouted out the list of demands. They also served the police an “eviction notice.” More protestors gathered outside the headquarters.
About 25 minutes after occupying the department, some protestors were arrested and others were dragged outside.
“Some of these demands are things that citizens should already get,” said activist Rasheen Aldridge, who helped plan the action. Aldridge, a Ferguson Commissioner, pointed to their demand of getting immediate medical attention for people who die in police custody.
“They are commonsense demands,” he said. “We can’t ask anymore; we have to demand it.”
Among the demands is also the firing of Randy Hayes, who shot and killed Kajieme Powell, and Jason Flannery, who killed VonDerrit Myers Jr.
Vega said the names of these officers should have been released immediately, and release of officer names is fatal shootings is also among the demands.
“What happens is that the public cannot hold them accountable,” said Vega, a leader in the group Artivists. “We have a police officer who gave Kajieme Powell less than 20 seconds of consideration before he killed him.”
Judging from the contents of their social media pages, Vega questioned whether they should be carrying guns. For instance, Flannery has posted inflammatory language targeted at Muslims, she said.
“That is not someone who we want to be a police officer,” she said. “And he has the capability to shoot Muslims because of his position.”
Activist Dhoruba Shakur, member of Black Souljahz, said the group – a cross-section of members from various organizations – they decided to start with the city police department, but not because they were the most egregious offenders.
“They are all on the same level, but St. Louis City is one of the bigger ones,” he said. “I feel if we do it here, it will have a domino effect. It’s a place to start.”
Shakur said the action is a reminder that the protests are not going to stop until they seem some change.
“This is letting them know,” he said. “We are going to get this year started off the correct way.”
List of demands:
1) Immediate meeting with the Police Chief Sam Dotson, Mayor Francis Slay or President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed.
2) Firing of officers Hayes and Flannery
3) Clear and transparent protocol when a person dies in police custody including:
A) Immediate medical attention for victims
B) Immediate release of the officers’ name
C) Appointment of special prosecutor for ALL deaths that occur in police custody.
4) Whistleblower program that protects officers acting with integrity
5) Amnesty for protesters who have been charged with non-violent offenses including those who have been charged arbitrarily with third degree assault with no actual violence.
6) Creation of a diverse citizen review board with subpoena power. The board will be appointed by community, not politicians, and will be a reflection of victims most subjected to police violence.
7) Seven day release of all information regarding police shootings including transparent release of unedited videos and audios.
8) A substantive plan with implementation dates for mandatory diversity training
9) Restoration of the residency requirement.
10) Screening that prevents officers fired from other departments to be hired by St. Louis Police Department.
11) Implementation of Youth Summer Program that creates opportunities for young people to serve in community.
Details and demands can be found at #Occupythepolice or #Reclaimthepolice
To watch the action via livestream: