The Latest: Police official defends internal shooting probes

The Latest on unrest in St. Louis following the acquittal of a former police officer accused in the shooting death of a black man (all times local):

4 p.m.

The man who oversees the St. Louis police unit responsible for investigating police shootings is defending his team, calling a proposal that the Circuit Attorney's office take over the investigations "naive."

Lt. Roger Engelhardt heads the Force Investigation Unit. He said Wednesday that his unit conducts each police shooting investigation as fairly as possible.

Engelhardt spoke in response to Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's proposal Tuesday asking the Board of Aldermen to spend $1.3 million so her office can create a team to handle all police use-of-force investigations.

Gardner says police and the community "deserve an objective, fair and transparent investigation" of police-involved shootings.

But Engelhardt says Gardner is naive if she thinks that investigations by her office also wouldn't be scrutinized.

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10:30 a.m.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is asking the Board of Aldermen to spend $1.3 million so her office can appoint a team to handle all police use-of-force investigations.

Gardner told the board's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday that the team would include four prosecutors, five investigators and two support staff. She says that both the police and the community "deserve an objective, fair and transparent investigation" of police-involved shootings.

St. Louis has been dealing with a series of protests since the mid-September acquittal of a white former police officer in the 2011 killing of a black drug suspect.

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10 a.m.

Police say 143 people were arrested following a protest that shut down a busy highway near downtown St. Louis.

The department on Wednesday did not say what charges those arrested during Tuesday night's protest will face, but a spokeswoman for the Circuit Attorney's office says they likely will face charges in municipal court.

Protesters gathered Tuesday and marched to Interstate 64, where some of them walked onto the roadway and blocked traffic for several minutes. Police arrested protesters after they left the highway.

Demonstrators have been protesting since mid-September over the acquittal of a white former police officer, Jason Stockley, in the 2011 killing of a black drug suspect, Anthony Lamar Smith.

More than 300 people have been arrested during demonstrations since the judge's verdict.