Cop ac­quit­tal rage hits the mall

Protests spread af­ter white of­fi­cer cleared in death of black man

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - — The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Noisy demon­stra­tors marched through two malls in an up­scale area of subur­ban St. Louis Satur­day to protest the ac­quit­tal of a white for­mer St. Louis of­fi­cer in the shoot­ing of a black man, pick­ing up af­ter a night of mostly peace­ful demon­stra­tions that es­ca­lated into scat­tered acts of van­dal­ism and vi­o­lence.

A few hun­dred peo­ple walked through West County Cen­ter in Des Peres loudly chant­ing such slo­gans as “black lives mat­ter” and “it is our duty to fight for our free­dom” to de­cry the judge’s ver­dict Fri­day clear­ing ex-St. Louis po­lice of­fi­cer Ja­son Stock­ley of first-de­gree mur­der in the 2011 shoot­ing of An­thony La­mar Smith.

A short time later, they demon­strated at Ch­ester­field Mall and at a fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing restau­rant food from across the re­gion.

The mall protests fol­lowed rau­cous day­time marches in down­town St. Louis and through the city’s posh Cen­tral West End area dur­ing the night. Pro­test­ers were mak­ing it clear, they said, that the en­tire re­gion, not just pre­dom­i­nantly black ar­eas of St. Louis, should feel un­com­fort­able with the ver­dict and its im­pact.

“I feel help­less and I feel just rage,” Su­sanna Prins, a 27-year-old white woman from Univer­sity City, an­other St. Louis sub­urb, said.

She car­ried a sign read­ing, “White si­lence is vi­o­lence.”

“Not say­ing or do­ing any­thing makes you com­plicit in the brutalization of our friends and neigh­bours,” Prins said.

The civil dis­obe­di­ence fol­lowed the ac­quit­tal of Stock­ley for fa­tally shoot­ing Smith, 24, af­ter the sus­pected drug dealer crashed his car fol­low­ing a chase.

Stock­ley tes­ti­fied that he saw Smith hold­ing a sil­ver re­volver as he sped away and felt he was in im­mi­nent dan­ger as he was ap­proach­ing the ve­hi­cle later.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Stock­ley planted a gun in Smith’s car af­ter the shoot­ing.

Dash­cam video from Stock­ley’s cruiser cap­tured him say­ing he was “go­ing to kill this (ex­ple­tive), don’t you know it.”

Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.

SToCk­lEy “Go­ing to kill”

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