St Louis po­lice death protests at last turn peace­ful

The Advertiser - - WORLD -

NOISY demon­stra­tors dis­rupted shop­ping at up­scale sub­ur­ban St Louis shop­ping malls and marched through a popular dis­trict of bars and restau­rants yes­ter­day in peace­ful protests over the ac­quit­tal of a white St Louis po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot a black man, and there was no sign of the spo­radic van­dal­ism and vi­o­lence that marred the ral­lies a night ear­lier.

A few hun­dred peo­ple shouted slo­gans such as “black lives mat­ter” and “it is our duty to fight for our free­dom” as they marched through malls in the city’s west to de­cry the judge’s ver­dict on Fri­day clear­ing ex-of­fi­cer Ja­son Stock­ley of first-de­gree mur­der in the 2011 shoot­ing of An­thony La­mar Smith.

The peace­ful protests fol­lowed rau­cous Fri­day marches in down­town St Louis and through the city’s posh Cen­tral West End area dur­ing the night. Pro­test­ers wanted the en­tire re­gion, not just pre­dom­i­nantly black ar­eas, to feel the im­pact of the protests.

“I don’t think racism is go­ing to change in Amer­ica un­til peo­ple get un­com­fort­able,” said Kayla Reed of the St Louis Ac­tion Coun­cil, a protest or­gan­iser.

Band U2 and singer Ed Sheeran can­celled con­certs be­cause po­lice said they could not pro­vide pro­tec­tion.

Smith’s death is just one of sev­eral high-pro­file US cases in re­cent years in which a white of­fi­cer killed a black sus­pect, in­clud­ing the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in nearby Fer­gu­son that sparked months of an­gry and some­times vi­o­lent protests.

Po­lice were pre­pared for a se­cond night of trou­ble after Fri­day’s demon­stra­tions led to sev­eral clashes – in­clud­ing rocks thrown at a po­lice car and ob­jects tossed at of­fi­cers in riot gear – and cul­mi­nated when pro­test­ers broke a win­dow and spat­tered red paint on the home of Mayor Lyda Krew­son.

Po­lice said 11 of­fi­cers were in­jured on Fri­day.

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