Trump retweets video of white St Louis couple pointing guns at protesters
Donald Trump courted controversy yesterday – and perhaps sought to deflect attention from reports about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan – by retweeting news footage of a white couple in St Louis, Missouri, who pointed guns at protesters marching for police reform.
The president’s action came a day after he retweeted footage of protesters clashing in Florida in which a Trump supporter could be heard to say: “White power! White power!” That retweet was deleted from the president’s account after a few hours, a spokesman saying Trump had not heard the inflammatory words before sending the footage.
The protesters in St Louis were marching to the home of the mayor, Lyda Krewson, to demand her resignation. In a Facebook Live briefing on Friday, Krewson read the names and addresses of several residents who wrote letters suggesting she defund the police department. The video was removed from Facebook and Krewson apologised on Friday, stating she did not “intend to cause distress”.
On Sunday evening a group of at least 500 people headed towards the mayor’s home, chanting: “Resign Lyda, take the cops with you.”
A social media video showed the unidentified armed couple standing outside their home in the Central West End neighbourhood, shouting at protesters. The man carried an assault-style rifle, the woman a handgun. People in the march moved the crowd forward, urging participants to ignore them. It was not immediately clear whether St Louis police were aware of the incident.
Krewson, who is white, was elected as the first female mayor of St Louis in April 2017, pledging to reduce crime and improve impoverished neighbourhoods.
The names and addresses Krewson read out are considered public records but her actions prompted anger. An online petition calling for her resignation had more than 43,000 signatures by yesterday morning.
“As a leader, you don’t do stuff like that … it’s only right that we visit her at her home,” said a state representative, Rasheen Aldridge, speaking into a megaphone at the protest on Sunday.
Trump’s retweet of the video of the St Louis incident also came after a gunman in Louisville, Kentucky, shot dead a photographer during protests over the death of Breonna Taylor, an African American woman killed by police in her own home. A man was charged with the photographer’s murder.
Trump also retweeted a series of messages seeking to identify protesters involved in attempts to remove contentious statues of figures from American history.
▼ St Louis, Missouri A couple draw their guns as a protest against the city’s mayor, Lyda Krewson, passes their home in Central West End