Cop acquittal rage hits the mall
Protests spread after white officer cleared in death of black man
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”