St. Louis to pay $5.2 million after mass arrests in 2017

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The city of St. Louis will pay nearly $5.2 million to settle claims by people who were arrested during a protest in 2017 over the acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of a Black man, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

According to a proposed class action settlement filed last week, the city agreed to pay $4.91 million, or about $58,500 per person, to 84 people who were protesting in downtown St. Louis.

The lawsuit claimed the protesters' rights were violated when they were caught in a police “kettle" as officers surrounded and arrested everyone in the area. Three people who filed individual lawsuits settled from $85,000 each.

They were protesting after former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted in the Dec. 20, 2011, shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Protesters said police surrounded more than 120 people who officers said did not follow dispersal orders. Several people claimed police used excessive force and indiscriminate pepper spray, including against bystanders who were not protesting.

The city denied any wrongdoing as part of last week’s settlement. A city spokesman declined comment Monday.

The settlement proposal must still be approved by a judge.

Previously, the city paid $5 million to Luther Hall, a Black undercover officer who said he was assaulted by fellow policemen who thought he was a protester.

In 2021, the city also agreed to pay $115,000 to a deceased Kansas City filmmaker who said he was beaten and pepper-sprayed during the protests.

Several more Stockley-related cases are still working through the legal system in St. Louis.