A Black Friday protest shut down a St. Louis shopping mall for a short period and resulted in seven arrests, including that of a state lawmaker.
Missouri Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., a Democrat, was among those arrested at the St. Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He and about 100 others were protesting as part of an economic boycott in response to police killings of African-Americans, according to the group’s website.
The boycott began in September after former St. Louis officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
The Black Friday protest shut down the St. Louis Galleria for about 40 minutes, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Protesters arrived at about 1:30 p.m., according to a release posted to the Richmond Heights Police Department Facebook page.
Protesters chanted, “Shut it down” and “These killer cops have got to go,” police said.
Some retail staff at various stores pulled down security gates, which trapped some customers inside, according to the Post-Dispatch.
The seven people were arrested shortly after police demanded the protesters disperse. They were cuffed and later transported to the St. Louis County Jail, the Post-Dispatch reported.
Franks posted a photo to his Facebook page and wrote, “We are being transported to county justice!”
Richmond Heights police said they were arrested for failing to disperse, and one person was also cited for assaulting an officer.
Franks and activist Darryl Gray are leaders of the economic boycott, according to The Associated Press.
Gray told The AP that officers were “overly aggressive and they were brutal.”
He added that some shoppers were chanting in support of the protesters, and then police “turned around and grabbed a black guy.”
When Franks tried to intervene, Gray said, he was forced to the ground and arrested.
“He had not touched anyone,” he said.
The Black Friday protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations and event cancellations following the Stockley verdict, the Post-Dispatch reported. Events canceled have included U2 and Ed Sheeran concerts, a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performance and others.