Multiple videos recorded after a Saturday prayer vigil in St. Louis appear to show Black Lives Matter agitators assaulting Catholics who participated in the event.
“Yesterday, while praying for peace and unity in our city and the protection of the St. Louis statue, Black Lives Matter protesters started to harass, berate, and assault the Catholics that were peacefully praying. We did nothing in retaliation,” Conor Martin, a candidate for Bedford Township Republican committeeman, claimed on Twitter.
Martin posted various videos of the incident that show agitators assaulting two individuals and beating them with sticks.
We allowed them to spit on us, call us names, put their fingers in our faces, push us, and antagonize, but we did not retaliate. We continued to peacefully pray.
— Conor Martin (@CMartinForMO) June 28, 2020
Bill Hennessy, a Catholic, conservative blogger based in St. Louis, said a group called St. Louis Forever visits the statue of St. Louis most evenings to pray the rosary and clean up the area. The group was formed in response to a petition to remove the statue and rename the city.
A local Black Lives Matter activist named Umar Lee decided to organize a counter-protest after learning that Catholics would be gathering at the statue at noon on Saturday.
“It was more than a protest. It was actually an attempt at intimidation,” said Hennessy, who noted that the assaults occurred after the prayer event had concluded.
“I don’t know exactly what precipitated this, or whether nothing did,” he said of the assaults. Hennessy participated in the Saturday event, but said he was not familiar with the individuals in the video.
Based on the video, it seems like a situation “where they got a couple people to stick around,” said Hennessy.
“I’d rather emphasize that when you do an event, leave as a group all at once at the same time. Don’t announce the time you’re going to leave in advance so that they can’t plan around that and just go, and go in groups so that no one’s alone,” he added. “At the time these incidents occurred, clearly there’s no police officers visible. So if you’re looking for someone to beat on, you’re going to wait for the police to leave.”
Kimberly Gardner, circuit attorney for St. Louis, said her office is investigating the Saturday assaults as well as Sunday night’s viral incident involving two homeowners who pulled firearms on a group of protesters who were trespassing on private property.
“It’s interesting that you have kind of two stories, the one with the couple and the one with the beating at the end of this prayer ceremony, and the only one that gets any attention is people defending their private property, even though no one was hurt. The media has completely ignored the fact that, at a minimum, somebody got beat up. What led to that beating, we don’t know,” said Hennessy.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis released a statement Sunday in defense of the St. Louis statue, calling King Louis IX “an imperfect man who strived to live a life modeled after the life of Jesus Christ.”
“King Louis IX’s renowned work in charity helped elevate him to Sainthood. His daily suppers were shared with numerous beggars, whom he invited to the royal table. On many evenings, he would not let them leave before he washed their feet. He personally paid to feed more than 100 poor Parisians every day,” said the statement. “His care for the sick was equally moving; St. Louis frequently ministered to lepers. He also created a number of hospitals, including one for the blind and another for ex-prostitutes.”
“If I’m CNN 15 years ago – maybe even five years ago – I probably would’ve been investigating this to find out more and would’ve at least mentioned it,” Hennessy added. “It’s really sad that we’ve reached the point in big league journalism that a story that does not conform to their preferred narrative simply didn’t happen in their minds.”
– – –