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St. Louis police blast Rams players for Ferguson gesture

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Police Officers Association says the five Rams players who stood with their hands raised before Sunday's game should be disciplined and the NFL should publicly apologize.

Some witnesses said Michael Brown, who was black, had his hands up before being fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson in August. Wilson testified to the grand jury that Brown hit him and reached for his gun.

The association released a statement Sunday that says the players' gesture was "tasteless, offensive and inflammatory."

In a statement on Monday, a NFL spokesman said only: "We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation."

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he wasn't aware the gesture had been planned by the players, who are all black.

Tight end Jared Cook said change "starts with the people that are the most influential around the world."

Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, with the move obscured by a smoke machine in the upper reaches of the Edward Jones Dome. Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook and Chris Givens - all of whom are black - then came out and stood together with arms raised.

There have been riots, looting and buildings burned in Ferguson since a grand jury declined Monday to indict Wilson in the shooting death of the unarmed Brown in August.

Across the street from the stadium during the game, about 75 protesters gathered in the second half as about 30 police wearing riot gear watched from a safe distance. Protesters chanted "Hands up, don't shoot!" ''No Justice, No Football!" ''This is what Democracy looks like," and "We're here for Mike Brown."

Protesters and police clashed during a demonstration after the game. Police arrested protest organizer Bishop Derrick Robinson in the confrontation. He was later released, vowing to continue the demonstrations. Robinson has been leader of several peaceful protests since Brown's death.

The Rams had additional security measures in place for the game, including armed personnel from the National Guard. The team has warned fans outside entrances all season.

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