University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Street v. O'Toole PN-MO-0009
Docket / Court 4:19-cv-02590 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
This is a federal class action lawsuit for monetary damages against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) for its response to anti-police brutality protests on September 17, 2017. For the injunctive suit filed by the ACLU of Missouri against the City of St. Louis that also arose out ... read more >
This is a federal class action lawsuit for monetary damages against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) for its response to anti-police brutality protests on September 17, 2017. For the injunctive suit filed by the ACLU of Missouri against the City of St. Louis that also arose out of the events of September 17, 2017, see Ahmad v. City of St. Louis.

Following the acquittal on September 15, 2017, of a SLMPD officer for the 2011 killing of the 24-year-old-African American man, Anthony Lamar Smith, protests broke out in St. Louis. On the night of September 17, the five named plaintiffs of this lawsuit and a putative class of 118 other individuals were subjected to “kettling” by police near downtown St. Louis following their involvement in protests.

Kettling is a crowd control technique used by police. To “kettle” protestors is to surround them in a corral-like fashion which makes it easier for police to conduct arrests and often cuts off the protestors’ access to food, water, and bathrooms.

On September 17, 2019, plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (in St. Louis). An amended complaint was filed on January 15, 2020, which named as defendants the Chief of the SLMPD, the St. Louis Director of Public Safety, a large number of senior SLMPD officers, and all officers who were employed by the SLMPD on September 17, 2017. The City of St. Louis was also named as a defendant.

This action included claims brought under 42 U.S.C §1983 and other tort claims based in Missouri state law. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages. The civil rights claims by the plaintiffs against the officers were: 1) that the SLMPD interfered with their First Amendment rights to speech and assembly, 2) that the actions taken by the SLMPD, including the use of zip-cuffs and chemical munitions, violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on excessive force, 3) that members of the putative class were subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment, 4) that all SLMPD officers conspired to deprive the putative class members of their civil rights, 5) that the officers were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of protestors in violation of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. There was an additional §1983 claim against the City of St. Louis for failure to train and supervise the SLMPD and for a custom of allowing unreasonable searches and seizures and the use of excessive force by police.

The plaintiffs also sought declaratory relief and asked that the District Court hold the ordinances which authorized the police action in question (St. Louis Code of Ordinances 15.52.010 and 17.16.275) unconstitutional on their face and as applied on September 17, 2017. Ordinance 15.52.010 defines unlawful assembly and makes it a misdemeanor. Ordinance 17.16.275 defines interference with pedestrian and vehicular traffic and, likewise, makes such interference a misdemeanor. The plaintiffs claimed that these local codes violated the Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process because they were unconstitutionally vague and failed to provide adequate notice as to what constitutes illegal conduct.

Defendants collectively filed four separate motions to dismiss which were granted in part and denied in part in an order dated February 22, 2021. In the order, District Judge Catherine Perry dismissed, without prejudice, all claims against officers against whom no specific allegations were made. Judge Perry struck all claims for punitive damages against the City of St. Louis. Judge Perry also denied supplemental jurisdiction over Count XVII of the Amended Complaint, which argued that the Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety should be held vicariously liable for the actions of all officers involved in the “kettling,” and dismissed the claim without prejudice. Judge Perry dismissed, with prejudice, the deliberate indifference to medical needs claim, and the Missouri state law claims against the officers of abuse of process, malicious prosecution, and conversion. 2021 WL 677909.

The February 2021 order left only six police officers and the City of St. Louis as remaining defendants. The remaining six officer defendants are all alleged to have held supervisory roles or directed the movements of other officers during the incident. These defendants appealed the denial of the motion to dismiss claims against them to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and filed a brief to the Eighth Circuit on April 22, 2021. District Judge Perry stayed all motions in the case pending the resolution of the interlocutory appeal. The case is therefore ongoing on appeal, with no current movement in the district court.

Esteban Woo Kee - 06/17/2021

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Pattern or Practice
Pepper/OC spray
Personal injury
Restraints : physical
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) City of St. Louis, Missouri
Plaintiff Description The putative class is composed of 118 individuals who were allegedly subjected to a "kettling" by police officers in St. Louis Missouri at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard on the night of September 17, 2017, during protests.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 09/17/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-MO-0008 : Ahmad v. City of St. Louis (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0005 : Templeton v. Dotson (E.D. Mo.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
E.D. Mo.
PN-MO-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Mo.
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-MO-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mo.
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 13]
PN-MO-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Mo.
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 66] (2021 WL 677909)
PN-MO-0009-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Perry, Catherine D. (E.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
PN-MO-0009-0003 | PN-MO-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Campbell, Alicia (Missouri) show/hide docs
PN-MO-0009-0002 | PN-MO-0009-9000
Campbell, John E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Drake, Kiaro Nayo (Missouri) show/hide docs
PN-MO-0009-0001 | PN-MO-0009-0002 | PN-MO-0009-9000
Khazaeli, Javad M (Missouri) show/hide docs
PN-MO-0009-0001 | PN-MO-0009-0002 | PN-MO-0009-9000
Wyrsch, James R (Missouri) show/hide docs
PN-MO-0009-0001 | PN-MO-0009-0002 | PN-MO-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bruyns, Megan Kathleen G. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Dierker, Robert H. Jr. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Duncan, Abby J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Kilo, John A. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Laird, Brandon D. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Raimondo, Amy M. (Missouri) show/hide docs

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -