St Louis po­lice shoot­ing protests turn vi­o­lent again t

The New Zealand Herald - - WORLD -

Protests turned vi­o­lent for the sec­ond day in re­ac­tion to the ac­quit­tal of a white for­mer St Louis po­lice of­fi­cer in the fa­tal shoot­ing of a black man.

A small group of demon­stra­tors re­fused to dis­perse, break­ing win­dows and throw­ing ob­jects at po­lice, who moved in with ar­moured ve­hi­cles and in riot gear.

The con­fronta­tion took place in the Del­mar Loop of the St Louis sub­urb of Univer­sity City. The area had been the scene of a tense but calm march ear­lier that ended with or­gan­is­ers call­ing for peo­ple to leave and re­con­vene today.

But a small group of pro­test­ers re­fused to go. Hun­dreds of po­lice in riot gear even­tu­ally moved in and or­dered them to dis­perse. The demon­stra­tors re­treated down a street, break­ing win­dows and throw­ing ob­jects at po­lice.

Pro­test­ers ear­lier marched through West County Cen­tre Mall, Ch­ester­field Mall and a re­gional food fes­ti­val to de­cry the judge’s ver­dict on Saturday

NZT clear­ing ex-of­fi­cer Ja­son Stock­ley of mur­der in the 2011 shoot­ing of An­thony La­mar Smith.

Or­gan­is­ers took their griev­ances to the sub­urbs to spread the im­pact of the protests be­yond pre­dom­i­nantly black neigh­bour­hoods to those that are mainly white.

“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. Su­sanna Prins, 27, a white woman from Univer­sity City, car­ried a sign read­ing, “White si­lence is vi­o­lence”. She said: “Not say­ing or do­ing any­thing makes you com­plicit in the bru­tal­i­sa­tion of our friends and neigh­bours”.

An­tic­i­pat­ing more demon­stra­tions, con­certs by U2 and Ed Sheeran were can­celled be­cause the po­lice said it wouldn’t be able to pro­vide its stan­dard pro­tec­tion for the events.

Stock­ley fa­tally shot Smith, 24, af­ter the sus­pected drug dealer fled from of­fi­cers try­ing to ar­rest him. Stock­ley, 36, tes­ti­fied he felt he was in dan­ger be­cause he saw Smith hold­ing a sil­ver re­volver when the sus­pect backed his car to­wards of­fi­cers and sped away.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Stock­ley planted a gun in Smith’s car af­ter the shoot­ing. The of­fi­cer’s DNA was on the weapon but Smith’s wasn’t. Dash­cam video from Stock­ley’s cruiser recorded him say­ing he was “go­ing to kill this (ex­ple­tive)”. Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times. — AP

A pro­tester yells as a woman rushes to close the doors to a depart­ment store in West County Cen­tre Mall, Des Peres, Mis­souri. e

Pic­ture / AP

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