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Tow Operators Attacked by Protestors (mO)

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Protester accused of attacking St. Louis City employees outside of City Hall charged, officials say

 

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – An arrest has been made after two St. Louis City employees were attacked outside of City Hall while attempting to tow vehicles parked illegally overnight.

 

Daundre Fitzpatrick, 20, was arrested Monday in connection to the assault. He was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and two charges of assault.

 

According to police, around 3:15 a.m. Thursday, two 47-year-old men were at 13th and Chestnut to tow vehicles parked in a no parking zone when they were overtaken by protesters who climbed onto the tow trucks and laid down in the street in front of them.

 

One of the workers was hit twice in the face with an assault rifle and the other was punched in the back of the head allegedly by Fitzpatrick, said Public Safety Director Judge Jimmie Edwards.

 

Fitzpatrick and another man ran from the area following the incident.

A spokesperson for the protesters said she was there but never saw anyone get assaulted. Sarah Watkins said the situation had been de-escalated and the tow truck drivers were going to give protesters time to move their cars, until two other city workers arrived.

 

"I did see city officials, the city employees getting aggressive with all the protesters, yelling at us, cursing at us. And really we were just trying to plead our case and explain to them why we were here," said Watkins.

 

In a tweet Thursday morning, Mayor Lyda Krewson said those responsible for the attack will be arrested and held accountable.

 

In a statement, Judge Edwards said he has had several amicable conversations with various protest group leaders recently. He also said the people responsible for the overnight attack must be held accountable and are not peaceful.

 

The attack happened as protesters camped outside of City Hall overnight calling for the resignation of Mayor Krewson.

 

The crowd gathered again Thursday afternoon with roughly 50 people sitting on the front steps of City Hall and camping out in tents on the lawn. They have chairs, tents, a couch and a cabinet. 

 

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UPDATED at 11:45 a.m. with interview with an injured worker

 

ST. LOUIS — A man identified by police as a protester has been charged in connection with last week's attack on two city employees who were trying to tow a car at City Hall, authorities said Monday.

 

The St. Louis circuit attorney's office on Friday charged D'Aundre Fitzpatrick, 20, with third-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon, both felonies. He also faces a third charge, a misdemeanor, of fourth-degree assault. No bond is allowed.

 

Fitzpatrick lives in the 5200 block of Alabama Avenue. He was being held in the St. Louis City Jail on Monday. Online court records do not list an attorney representing him. His mother declined comment.

 

Two city employees attempting to tow cars from a no-parking zone in front of City Hall were assaulted at 13th and Chestnut streets as protesters occupied the area, authorities said. Police said the attack happened about 3 a.m. Thursday.

 

Charges say Fitzpatrick hit one of the workers in the back of the head with a firearm, and he punched the other worker, also in the head. Fitzpatrick is accused of displaying a Micro Draco 7.62 caliber weapon in an angry or threatening manner. 

 

The workers, men in their 40s, had gone to City Hall to tow the cars. Police said protesters surrounded them, climbed on top of the tow truck and laid down in the street in front of the truck. Punching one worker in the head is the offense for which Fitzpatrick faces the misdemeanor charge. The felony is for allegedly hitting the other worker in the head with the gun.

 

"They surrounded us," one worker, 47, told the Post-Dispatch. "I wasn't expecting that. They were yelling a whole bunch of stuff."

 

The worker said paramedics treated him at the scene for a head injury but he didn't need stitches. He is back at work now, he said. The worker did not want to be identified. 

 

Fitzpatrick is the only man police say has been charged. St. Louis police officer Michelle Woodling said a second suspect hasn't been arrested.

 

According to court documents, a group of about 15 protesters swarmed the workers and began screaming at them. When some of the protesters climbed onto the flatbed of the truck, a worker urged them to get down and that's when he was struck, police said. The worker turned around and saw Fitzpatrick holding a black bag. Fitzpatrick pulled a small rifle from the bag and pointed it at the worker, according to the charges. Witnesses corroborated the worker's account, police said.

 

The second worker, after being hit, saw Fitzpatrick run away, charges said.

 

On Friday, police stopped a Nissan Altima near Cole and 11th streets. Fitzpatrick was driving. Police said the weapon on the floorboard of the car, according to authorities. 

 

Court records say Fitzpatrick works for a fast-food restaurant and a package delivery service. Charging documents spell his first name D'Aundre but a release from police spells it Daundre. 

 

A Facebook page called Occupy City Hall STL posted a statement Thursday that said the move to tow vehicles was a "weaponization of parking enforcement," as the city website says cars that are illegally parked during street cleaning times will be ticketed, not towed. 

 

The post also said the person who revealed a firearm "was not a representation of the way nearly 20 other people who intervened in an attempt to resolve this issue nonviolently."

 

City Director of Public Safety Jimmie Edwards last week said that most of the protests held in the city have been nonviolent. But the men who attacked the workers "are not peaceful or non-violent." He said they would be arrested and held accountable.

 

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