JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
A St. Louis state representative told ABC 17 News that several protesters were taken into police custody Thursday after a "die-in" near the state Capitol building.
Jefferson City police said officers were called to the 100 block of E. High Street around 1 p.m. for a group blocking the roadway.
Below is video courtesy of Ohun Ashe. WARNING: Contains explicit language.
State Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D - St. Louis), who was with the protesters, said he didn't know why the protesters were taken into custody.
"I wish they would have de-escalated more, we were out here non-violently here to say the change we want to see," Aldridge said. "This is a true reason people are asking for change you know.. if this was a different march, I feel like it would have been not as aggressive."
Jefferson City Police Department spokesman Lt. David Williams said eight people were taken into custody.
He said the department understands the right to protest, but the protestors were causing safety issues for the citizens of Jefferson City.
"As long as the gathering is on the sidewalk and not causing a problem and not standing in the roadway, laying in the roadway... they have all the rights that are available to them," Willaims said.
About 40 people with the group Expect Us were in Jefferson City for a protest called "The People's State of the State," according to the group's Facebook account. Aldridge said the group was protesting Gov. Mike Parson's special legislative session on violent crime.
Aldridge said the group took part in a two-minute "die-in" and that protesters were laying in the street.
Williams said in a news release sent out at 4:45 p.m. the protesters were given multiple commands to leave the roadway.
"The participants blocked the roadway at three different locations prior to an arrest being made," Williams said in the release.
The protesters were arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly and resisting/interfering with an arrest, Williams said.
Videos posted to social media show protesters start to get out of the street when officers begin arresting some of the demonstrators.
ABC17 News obtained the video and spoke with the woman who was arrested while taking the video Ohun Ashe.
The video show her on the side walk near the Governor's mansion, while protesters are being taken into cars. Police officers follow her down the street after to yells for them not to touch her. The video show her on the ground being handcuffed.
"A lot of times when that do these type of things where they portray police violence, they think that it's going to make people back down, but it really just reignites that fire and it also shows the world why we are out here," Ashe said.
Capitol Police spokesman Mike O'Connell said the group marched from the Capitol building to the Governor's Mansion.
O'Connell said at one point the group was in the middle of the Jefferson Street and Capitol Avenue intersection but got back on the sidewalk after officers told the protesters to get out of the road.