Man Beaten at Ferguson Protest Strategy Meeting

Paul Hampel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 7, 2014

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 unincorporated north St. Louis County.

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The victim, identified as Chris Schaefer, an 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.

Patricia Bynes, a stalwart of the protest movement who attended the meeting, blamed members of the protest 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 Florrisant 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.”

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. I couldn’t really see what was happening to him but I assumed he was getting beaten up,” she said.

Bynes said Schaefer ran in a panic onto Chambers Road, where he tried in vain to flag down passing vehicles for help. She said Schaefer was able to reach the relative security of the Walgreens pharmacy at Chambers and West Florissant roads in Dellwood.

County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said officers were called to the Walgreens.

“The victim told officers that five or six men had dragged him from St. Mark’s Church and beat him in the head and body,” Schellman said Friday.

Schaefer, 24, was transported by ambulance to Christian Hospital Northeast on Dunn Road.

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