Protests fol­low of­fi­cer’s ac­quit­tal

Sunday News - - WORLD -

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

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