Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Beaten at Ferguson Protest Strategy Meeting

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Beaten at Ferguson Protest Strategy Meeting

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS COUNTY * Some Ferguson protest strategists turned on one of their own Thursday night, allegedly beating a man they accused of sending out unauthorized video of a meeting at Greater St. Mark Missionary Church in an unincorporated area of north St. Louis County.

County police confirmed that they are investigating.

The victim, identified as Chris Schaefer, a University of Missouri-St. Louis student, was chased from the church, at 9950 Glen Owen Drive, and beaten outside. He was treated for his injuries at a hospital. He details his story on a website where he asks for donations to cover the cost of his medical care.

Patricia Bynes, a stalwart of the protest movement who attended the meeting, blamed members of the group Lost Voices for the attack.

"If we're going to hold police accountable for beating us, we need to hold ourselves accountable for incidents like this," Bynes said. "I'm not saying all the Lost Voices were involved, but those that weren't need to get their group under control because they have gotten increasingly violent lately."

Bynes said the meeting at the church was intended to be confidential. Some in the crowd accused Schaefer of using his smartphone to "live stream" the proceedings to the Internet.

On Friday afternoon, a member of Lost Voices denied that the group had been involved in the assault. The member, who identified himself as Bud Cuzz, spoke outside the group's headquarters on West Florissant Avenue.

"I was at the meeting and I didn't see anyone get beat," Cuzz said. "I can tell you that (Schaefer) was told specifically at the start of the meeting: no cameras, no pictures and no recording."

Cuzz said Schaefer should have "followed directions."

The pastors who had called the organizational meeting Thursday night held a news conference Friday night to publicly apologize for what happened. They said they had been able to quickly remove instigators from protest groups before but weren't sure who had beaten Schaefer, and didn't know whether the assailants were part of the Lost Voices group.

"We want to reiterate that violence is not a part of our message," said Renita Lamkin, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Charles. "We deeply regret the actions of last night. This is not who we are." She said the aggression toward him "was the result of nerves being on edge as we await an announcement" of a grand jury decision.

In an interview Friday, Bynes described the circumstances. "The meeting started at around 7:30 and I got there a little late and sat down front,' she said. "I was listening to what was going on and, all of a sudden, somebody yells out, 'There's a phone off the hook!'"

"Others started repeating it, and then I see some members of the Lost Voices moving towards this young man."

Bynes said the group chased Schaefer outside.

"They got him up against the wall. …

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