Jeff Roberson
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, police arrest a man as people protest a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, in St. Louis. The FBI, Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis are launching an investigation of the way police in the St. Louis area have handled protests in the two months since a former police officer was acquitted in the death of a black suspect. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

ST. LOUIS — A federal investigation will look into possible civil rights violations by police in the St. Louis area in the two months since protests broke out after a white former police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of a black suspect.

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced the investigation in a statement Monday. The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in St. Louis also will help with the investigation.

Protest leaders, Democratic U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay and others called for a federal investigation. More than 300 people have been arrested at protests since Sept. 15, when a judge ruled that Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.

Several of those arrested have alleged heavy-handed arrests and even taunting by police.