12/01/2014 10:48 EST | Updated 01/31/2015 05:59 EST

Rams' 'hands up, don't shoot' gesture condemned by St. Louis police

St. Louis police officers condemned players on the NFL's Rams who made a "hands up, don't shoot" gesture before Sunday's home game against the Oakland Raiders.

Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens, and Kenny Britt raised their hands above their heads during pre-game introductions. The gesture has been seen in the protest against a grand jury's decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in connection with the shooting death of Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo.

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

The St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) released a statement saying the act by the Rams players, who are all black, was "tasteless, offensive and inflammatory." The SLPOA asked for the players to be disciplined and for the NFL to issue a public apology.

"I'd remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser's [sic] products. It's cops, and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do," SLPOA business manager Jeff Roorda said in the statement.

"Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it's not the NFL and the Rams, then it'll be cops and their supporters."

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he wasn't aware the gesture had been planned by the players.

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

Police dressed in riot gear met with protesters outside the Rams' stadium on Sunday. Six people were arrested, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said.