Protests follow officer’s acquittal
ST LOUIS Hundreds of protesters poured into St Louis’ streets and some scuffles broke out as they voiced their anger after a Missouri judge yesterday ruled that a white former St Louis police officer was not guilty of murder in the 2011 shooting of a black man.
With the National Guard on standby in case of violence, authorities appealed to protesters to march peacefully in a state where racially charged clashes in the nearby city of Ferguson spawned the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014.
Police said a few protesters threw rocks and water bottles, while witnesses and video showed officers used pepper spray on at least five people about a block from the courthouse.
As night fell, police said 13 people had been arrested.
Jason Stockley, 36, was acquitted of first-degree murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith, 24. The former policeman said Smith fled in his car when he attempted to arrest him on drug charges.
Stockley and his partner chased Smith, who was shot five times in his car. The former policeman thought Smith had a gun, defence lawyers said. A gun was found in the car but prosecutors argued that Stockley planted the weapon and the gun had only Stockley’s DNA on it.
After the verdict, about 600 protesters marched in downtown St Louis, chanting ‘‘No justice, no peace’’.
‘‘I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m mad,’’ the Rev Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St Louis said. ‘‘We haven’t made any progress since Ferguson, that’s clear. Cops can still kill us with impunity.’’ Reuters