A Missouri state representative was among the protesters arrested as a demonstration briefly closed the St. Louis Galleria on Black Friday.
Protesters arrived shortly after 2 p.m. and walked through the mall chanting “Shut it down,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Some stores went on lockdown, closing their doors and security gates, in some cases trapping customers inside. The mall then closed and customers were instructed to leave, but it reopened again at about 3:20 p.m.
Seven people were arrested, including Missouri state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., according to news reports.
The protests have been part of an economic boycott effort to draw attention to police treatment of black people, bank loan practices and infrastructure neglect in north St. Louis, according to news reports. A previous protest at the Galleria ended in more than 20 arrests in September. Last weekend, protesters marched through West County Mall shouting “No justice, no profits,” leading to a temporary lockdown of the mall.
Their website, NoJusticeNoProfit.us, lists “The Bad List” of businesses chosen for boycott and the reasons why. The Galleria is on the list, as well as Target, Schnucks, the Delmar Loop, and a Phillips 66 gas station on North Florissant Avenue, as well as a number of national chains and corporations.
The St. Louis Police Department is now under federal investigation for its actions in handling protests since the September acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley of murder charges in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. A federal judge has issued an injunction ordering St. Louis police to stop pepper-spraying protesters without probable cause, among other restrictions.