7 charged with rioting after protest in St. Louis County

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ST. LOUIS – Protesters who were arrested at an unruly demonstration at a suburban St. Louis shopping mall were released from jail Sunday amid cheers from demonstrators.

An estimated 200 people gathered at the St. Louis County Justice Center Sunday afternoon, a day after 22 protesters were arrested at the St. Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights. Among those released Sunday was the Rev. Karla Frye. Protesters claim Frye was choked by police.

Frye was charged with assault, rioting and two counts of resisting arrest. A court document accused her of jumping on the back of a police officer, injuring the officer.

Six other protesters were charged with rioting and resisting arrest. The 15 others will be referred to Richmond Heights Municipal Court for local charges.

The protest was one of several since mid-September, when a judge acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the death of a black drug suspect. Nearly 200 people have been arrested in demonstrations since the ruling.

On Sunday, a much smaller group of protesters stood outside a hotel near Lambert Airport, where a conservative group was hosting a rally that included Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Donald Trump.

The Galleria protest began peacefully before some protesters began overturning trash cans, leading to a confrontation between police and demonstrators. Officers cleared out the mall and began making arrests.

Stockley was found not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. He testified he shot Smith in self-defense because Smith was reaching toward a gun in his car. Prosecutors accused Stockley of planting the gun.

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