They walked through the mall corridors and entered several stores, including a Dillard's. The protests lasted nearly two hours.
Bruce Franks Jr., a Missouri state representative, was one of the people arrested, according to his legislative assistant, Danielle Spradley.
The eyewitness said the protests were peaceful until the arrests happened.
“Right at the end of the group, police grabbed people. People ran back to try to help, and the police started throwing them down. It got real ugly,” the witness said.
Chris Phillips was at the mall and said he saw five protesters get arrested by police officers.
"It was quite violent. Police officers were pushing people’s faces into the ground and I saw one woman with shopping bags getting tackled, but as far as I saw, nobody was seriously hurt," he recalled.
Earlier this month, African-American clergy members and activists announced a boycott of the Galleria Mall and other business in St. Louis. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the protests were in response to police treatment of blacks, bank loan practices and infrastructure neglect in parts of St. Louis.