Pro­test­ers de­cry ver­dict

The Nation - - WORLD -

A ST LOUIS, Mis­souri judge has found a white former po­lice of­fi­cer not guilty of mur­der­ing a black man af­ter a high-speed chase in 2011, in a closely watched case that comes amid con­tin­u­ing ra­cial ten­sions in the US.

Cir­cuit Judge Ti­mothy Wil­son said pros­e­cu­tors had failed to prove “ev­ery el­e­ment of mur­der be­yond a rea­son­able doubt” or to show per­sua­sively that de­fen­dant Ja­son Stock­ley had not acted in self­de­fence when he shot and killed sus­pected drug dealer An­thony La­mar Smith. The case has drawn in­tense at­ten­tion in St Louis, where ra­cial ten­sions have been high since the 2014 killing of a black man in the sub­urb of Fer­gu­son by a white po­lice of­fi­cer.

Demon­stra­tors quickly gath­ered Fri­day near the court­house to protest the ver­dict, though po­lice said they so far had been peace­ful. Some peo­ple locked arms, chant­ing “No jus­tice, no peace.”

“I pray for my city, man, be­cause peo­ple are tired of this,” Michael Brown told CNN. His son, also Michael Brown, was the man killed in the 2014 Fer­gu­son shoot­ing. The white of­fi­cer in that case was cleared of wrong­do­ing.

Po­lice later used tear gas on some demon­stra­tors who dam­aged public and pri­vate prop­erty. Twen­tythree ar­rests were made, and 10 of­fi­cers were hurt, St Louis po­lice said.

St Louis Mayor Lyda Krew­son is­sued a state­ment yes­ter­day say­ing: “I am ap­palled at what hap­pened to An­thony La­mar Smith. I am sobered by this out­come.” She urged the peo­ple of her mid­west­ern city to come to­gether, adding, “We rise and fall to­gether.”

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cers stand guard dur­ing a protest ac­tion fol­low­ing a not guilty ver­dict for a white po­lice­man in St Louis, Mis­souri.

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