More than 340 St. Louis Metropolitan police officers are named in a class-action lawsuit filed todayagainst the individual officers and the City of St. Louis, alleging the unlawfully pepper spraying, beating and “kettle” arrests of more than 120 people on Sept. 17, 2017.
The protests occurred two days after then-St. Louis officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder during a four-day bench trial. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of St. Louis residents Fudail McCain and Nicole Warrington, St. Louis County residents Alicia Street and Ronald Harris and St. Charles County resident Ashley Theis.
The class action lawsuit comes a year after the law firm joined the Arch City Defenders in filing 12 lawsuits relating to this incident.
However, the class-action lawsuit represents all 123 people arrested on Sept. 17, 2017, including self-admitted protestors, residents who merely lived in the area, people visiting businesses in the area, reporters, documentarians, a homeless person and an undercover cop, the suit states.
Attorney Javad M. Khazaeli, of Khazaeli and Wyrsch law firm, said their clients had no choice but to name each officer individually in the suit — a total of 343.
“It has been two years since the fateful events of September 17, 2017,” the lawsuit states. “Despite an alleged, ongoing investigation by the City of St. Louis and a publicly announced investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, the City of St. Louis still has not produced an accurate list of the officers involved in the kettling.”
The list that that city provided the law firm doesn’t include officers who attorneys know were present based on several testimonies, documents and video footage, Khazaeli said. And evidence shows that some officers purposely took off their name tags and wore riot gear to hide their identities, Khazaeli said.
“We know based on text messages that the FBI published in their investigation that the officers were planning on using the military garb for anonymity,” Khazaeli said.
One of those text messages was from Officer Dustin Boone, who is facing federal charges for allegedly beating Officer Luther Hall who was working undercover during the protests that night.
In the text, Boone stated, “It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!! But it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these sh-theads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!”
The lawsuit lays out what roles several of the commanders played in the plan to “kettle” the people into the intersection of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard and then arrest them.
As then-interim police chief, Lawrence O’Toole is the lead defendant. Lt. Timothy Sachs, who was in command of the officers in tactical gear, allegedly came up with the plan to arrest everyone present, the suit states. Lt. Col. Gerald Leyshock, who was commanding all of the supervisors, allegedly approved the plan.
Sgt. Brian Rossomanno and Sgt. Randy Jemerson allegedly directed the officers to kettle people to the intersection of Washington and Tucker. That night officers marched in lines towards the protestors from all four sides, banging their batons on the street. Leyshock, Sachs, Rossomanno, and Jemerson should have known that their plan “would result in arrests without probable cause and unjustified use of force,” the lawsuit states.
Lt. Scott Boyher and Sgt. Matthew Karnowski allegedly commanded officers to use force against the peacefully assembled people and supervised the unlawful arrests. Video shows that Karnowski allegedly instigated the pepper spraying, it states.
“Almost instantly and in unison, the other individuals in the kettle put their hands in the air as a sign of peaceful surrender,” it states. “Many individuals laid prostrate on the ground. Others sat down. And others, who could not fully get to the ground because of the mass of people inside of the kettle, got as close to the ground as possible. Even though video evidence shows that none of the individuals inside the kettle were acting violently or aggressively, the individuals in the kettle were indiscriminately and repeatedly doused with chemical agents without warning by Defendant Officers.”
During and after the arrests, the suit states that officers were observed high fiving each other, smoking celebratory cigars, taking selfies on their personal phones with arrestees against the arrestees will, and chanting “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”
During a following press conference, O’Toole said, “I’m proud to say the city of St. Louis and the police owned the night,” while standing next to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
“Krewson further validated the illegal actions of Defendant Officers when she thanked the officers ‘for the outstanding job they have been doing over the last three days,’” the lawsuit states. “She added that she fully supported the actions of the officers.”
Here is the list of “defendant officers” named in the lawsuit:
Lt. Col. Lawrence O'toole, Lt. Col. Gerald Leyshock, Maj. Kenneth Kegel, Captain Eric Larson, Captain Steven Mueller, Lt. Kimberly Allen, Lt. Scott Boyher, Lt. Daniel Chitwood, Lt. Donna Garrett, Lt. Darla Gray, Lt. Bill Kiphart, Lt. Christi Marks, Lt. Michael Mayo, Lt. Timothy Sachs, Sgt. Christy Allen, Sgt. Keith Barrett, Sgt. Ronald Bergmann, Sgt. Michael Binz, Sgt. Michael Boll, Sgt. James Buckeridge, Sgt. Joe Carretero, Sgt. Anthony Caruso, Sgt. James Clark, Sgt. James Clark, Sgt. Adam Duke, Sgt. Kelly Fisher, Sgt. Brandt Flowers, Sgt. Nicole Gentilini, Sgt. Samuel Gilman, Sgt. Patrick Haug, Sgt. Richard Hellmeier, Sgt. Rodney Hickman, Sgt. Randy Jemerson, Sgt. Justin Johnson, Sgt. Matthew Karnowski, Sgt. Robert Lammert, Sgt. Joe Lankford, Sgt. Robert Laschober, Sgt. Tom Long, Sgt. Kyle Mack, Sgt. Mike Mandle, Sgt. Michael Marks, Sgt. Orlando Morrison, Sgt. James Murphy, Sgt. Dennis Neal, Sgt. Patricia Nijkamp, Sgt. Kenneth Nizick, Sgt. Donald Re, Sgt. Brian Rossomanno, Sgt. Bradley Roy, Sgt. John Sabin, Sgt. Daniel Schulte, Sgt. Brian Seppi, Sgt. Timothy Turner, Sgt. Scott Valentine, Sgt. Donnell Walters, Sgt. Scott Weidler, Sgt. Nicholas Weite, Sgt. Carolyn Wiener, Sgt. Anthony Wozniak, Det. James Bain, Det. Kevin Bently, Det. Jason Brandhorst, Det. Matthew Burle, Det. Daniel Chamblin, Det. Mickey Christ, Det. Tracy Cole , Det. Gaston Coleman, Det. Deandre Davis, Det. Jesse Dyson, Det. Bruce Edmond, Det. Richard Edwards, Det. Amon Figgs, Det. Shaviste Grandberry, Det. Tracy Hallquist, Det. George Henry, Det. Janika Humphrey, Det. Marilyn Johnson, Det. Deneane Jones, Det. Paul Kosednar, Det. Douglas Mcclean, Det. Terron Murphy, Det. Michael Shaw, Det. James Stagge, Det. Thomas Strode, Det. Keaton Strong, Det. Kelli Swinton, Det. Jarred Thacker, Det. Stephen Walsh Iv, Det. Brandon Webb, Det. Nijauh Woodard, Det. Marquise Wren, Det. Brandon Wyms, Off. Gerald Adams, Off. Alfred Allmon, Off. Jon Amesquita, Off. John Anderson, Off. Erica Anderson, Off. Kevin Bambrick, Off. Jermaine Banks, Off. Bryan Barton, Off. Bryan Barton, Off. Benjamin Bayless, Off. Matthew Bedell, Off. Jacob Bias, Off. Marcus Biggins, Off. James Binder, Off. Anna Biondolillo, Off. Timothy Bockskopf, Off. Matthew Boester, Off. Tamarris Bohannon, Off. Dustin Boone, Off. Christopher Bramley, Off. Brian Brewer-moore, Off. Lucas Brockmeyer, Off. Ryan Buscemi, Off. Michael Calcaterra, Off. Benjamin Cehic, Off. Benjamin Cehric, Off. Michael Cheli, Off. Brian B Cheli, Off. Kristin Chelucci, Off. Paul Chester, Off. Russell Christian, Off. Marco Christlieb, Off. Brandon Clark, Off. Daniel Clauss, Off. Thearn Clements, Off. Kanisha Coleman, Off. Anthony Coll, Off. Bailey Colletta, Off. Julius Conner, Off. Robert Cooper, Off. David Crocker, Off. Ian Csapo, Off. Nadja Curt, Off. Kevin Dang, Off. Steven Daugherty, Off. Patrick Daut, Off. Jeremy Davis, Off. Emily Davis, Off. Roland Degregorio, Off. Brian Dematteis, Off. William Douglas, Off. Nathan Dresch, Off. Jodie Eaton, Off. Richard Eaves, Off. Sam Edwards, Off. Matthew Eernisse, Off. Steven Fanz, Off. Brent Fincher, Off. Steven Fischer, Off. Zachariah Foltz, Off. Sean Fortune, Off. Glennon Frigerio, Off. Gregory Frost, Off. Aaron Gaddis, Off. Luis Garibay, Off. Adam Garibay, Off. Jazmon Dominique Garrett, Off. John Gentilini, Off. Ryan Gibbons, Off. Edward Gonzales, Off. Brian Gonzales, Off. Dereck Green, Off. Shawn Griggs, Off. Kathleen Gutjahr, Off. Jonathan Haire, Off. Tom Halfhill, Off. Joshua Hall, Off. Nicholas Harbaugh, Off. Thomas Harger, Off. James Harris Iii, Off. Zeme'z Harris, Off. Benjamin Hawkins, Off. Amber Hawkins, Off. Henry Hayden, Off. Nicholas Hayden, Off. Brian Hayes, Off. Randy Hays, Off. Andrew Heimberger, Off. Erin Hein, Off. Nick Henderson, Off. Eric Henry, Off. Michael Hines, Off. Timothy Hollman, Off. Nicholas Holt, Off. Dustin Hoskins, Off. Taylor Hosna, Off. Carlus Ingram, Off. Matthew James, Off. Jeremy Johnson, Off. Reginald Jones, Off. Courtney Jordan, Off. Michael Joyner, Off. Josh Kamper, Off. Joseph Kerth, Off. Zohaib Khan, Off. Daniel Kim, Off. David King, Off. Austin King, Off. Jeremiah Koerper, Off. Steve Korte, Off. Ryan Kotaska, Off. Francis Koziacki, Off. David Krapf, Off. Abby Krull, Off. Jared Krumm, Off. Steven Landers, Off. Amy Laz, Off. Lawrence Lazewski, Off. Trenton Lee, Off. Nicholas Lee, Off. Brian Lemons, Off. Ryan Lindhorst, Off. Jeffrey Long, Off. Jeffery Long, Off. Ronald Ludwig, Off. Alan Malone, Off. Joseph Marcantano, Off. Joshua Martin, Off. Sean Martini, Off. Nicholas Martorano, Off. Kevin Mataya, Off. Damon Maxwell, Off. Collin Mcanany, Off. Joshua Mcbee, Off. Matthew Mccomy, Off. Luke Mcdonnell, Off. Jane Mckibben, Off. Timothy Mcnamara, Off. Alexander Mesnage, Off. Michael Missel, Off. Joseph Morrell, Off. Joshua Morrison, Off. John Moton, Off. Nicholas Muehlheausler, Off. Aaron Muendlein, Off. Sean Murphy, Off. Ryan Murphy, Off. Brian Murphy, Off. Bianca Myers, Off. Christopher Myers, Off. Edward Napier, Off. Christopher Narez, Off. Courtney Nash, Off. Perrin Newman, Off. Michael Niethe, Off. Carianne Noga, Off. John O'brien, Off. Michael O'callaghan, Off. Uzoma Onwumere, Off. Nicola Orlando, Off. Stephe Ortinau, Off. Daniel Osorio, Off. Eric Parrish, Off. Jamie Partee, Off. Austin Patton, Off. Keith Paulitsch, Off. Mark Pfieffer, Off. Joseph Pierce, Off. Laquan Pierce, Off. Jaimie Pitterle, Off. Oliver Poggioli, Off. Christina Powderly, Off. Jack Randolph, Off. Ahman Rasool, Off. Patrick Riordan, Off. Cornell Robinson, Off. Megan Rodgers, Off. Joseph Rodriguez, Off. Stephanie Rogers, Off. Rosa Rojas, Off. Michael Ronzio, Off. Geoffrey Rose, Off. Michael Ross, Off. Joseph Ross , Off. David Rudolph, Off. Gary Ruffin, Off. Terrence Ruffin, Off. Trevor Russell, Off. Ronald Rust, Off. Steven Saito, Off. Ohmed Samih, Off. Kyle Santa, Off. Joseph Scalzo, Off. Gregory Schaffer, Off. Richard Schicker, Off. Andrew Schmick, Off. Joseph Schmitt, Off. April Schnetzer, Off. Stephen Iv Schroeder, Off. Christopher Seger, Off. Jonathan Selbert, Off. Jonathan Senf, Off. Matthew Shaw, Off. Keith Shelton, Off. Matthew Shoults, Off. Quincy Silver, Off. Tawanna Simms, Off. Kori Simon, Off. Mitchel Simpher, Off. Elijah Simpson, Off. Sisavath Singharath, Off. Ashley Smith, Off. Quincy Smith, Off. Jacob Stein, Off. William Stevenson, Off. Samuel Stewart, Off. Joslyn Stone, Off. Thomas Streckfuss, Off. Brian Strehl, Off. Nathan Strickland, Off. Steven Strohmeyer, Off. Robert Stuart, Off. Joseph Tate, Off. Solomon Thurman, Off. Anton Treis, Off. Robert Trim, Off. William Triplett, Off. Chad Tullock, Off. Anthony Valenza, Off. Jonathan Vanarsdale, Off. Philip Vonderheydt, Off. Erich Vonnida, Off. Nhong Vorachack, Off. Paul Wactor, Off. Charles Wall, Off. Ramelle Wallace, Off. Martinous Vashon Iii Walls Iii, Off. Bradley Walworth, Off. Jeanine Waters, Off. Matthew Welle, Off. Duane Wells, Off. Randall Welsch, Off. Lindsey Wethington, Off. Andre White, Off. Cristina Widbin, Off. Joann Williams , Off. Darnell Willis, Off. Louis Wilson, Off. Andrew Wismar, Off. James Wood, Off. James Wooten, Off. Samuel Zouglas, Off. Richard Zurmuehlen, and Off. James Zwilling.