St Louis police death protests at last turn peaceful
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.