Police Chief Darryl Forté on Sunday defended officers’ actions in handling people protesting presidential candidate Donald Trump downtown on Saturday night.
Forté said on Twitter that the protesters included a “heavy presence of known anarchists.”
At least four people were arrested and police used pepper spray on at least two occasions during Trump’s visit four days before the Missouri primary on Tuesday.
Video on YouTube showed several officers spraying people standing on a sidewalk on Main Street across from The Midland, where Trump spoke at a campaign rally.
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“I spent my childhood on the other side of the Iron Curtain,” Alexandru Lazar posted on Facebook. “This reminds me of my childhood, and not in a good way.”
Chris @stokith posted video of police using pepper spray.
Forté on Sunday praised the “coordination, calmness and composure” of the police and said their actions were “remarkable” during “very stressful conditions.”
The police chief said there had been a bomb threat and that the protest had drawn “outside agitators.”
Critics of the police, as well as Trump supporters, were vocal on social media.
Forté acknowledged police used spray twice, early on in “short bursts” and later with “long streams.”