Mis­ery in Mis­souri

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY JES­SICA CHIA and THOMAS TRACY ttracy@ny­dai­lynews.com

CHANT­ING DEMON­STRA­TORS marched through the up­scale St. Louis sub­urbs Satur­day night in a fresh wave of protests over the ac­quit­tal of a white cop in the fa­tal shoot­ing of a black man.

The ral­lies in the streets of Des Peres and Univer­sity City were free of the van­dal­ism and vi­o­lence that marred the protests on Fri­day night.

Ten po­lice of­fi­cers suf­fered in­juries in­clud­ing a bro­ken jaw and dis­lo­cated shoul­der dur­ing demon­stra­tions in down­town St. Louis that be­gan Fri­day and stretched into the early hours of Satur­day.

The mayor’s home was dam­aged by pro­test­ers who threw rocks and paint.

Demon­stra­tors were fu­ri­ous over a judge’s de­ci­sion to ac­quit for­mer Po­lice Of­fi­cer Ja­son Stock­ley of mur­der in the 2011 death of 24-year-old An­thony La­mar Smith (photo, hold­ing daugh­ter).

The of­fi­cer was also ac­cused of plant­ing a gun in Smith’s car fol­low­ing a high speed chase.

By noon Satur­day, as shop­keep­ers boarded up their bro­ken win­dows, sev­eral dozen demon­stra­tors were again march­ing through the West County Cen­ter mall chant­ing “Black lives mat­ter!” and “No jus­tice, no prof­its!”

No in­juries or ar­rests were re­ported as pan­icked work­ers at Macy’s and other re­tail­ers closed their doors and se­cu­rity shut­ters. A se­cond protest was held at the nearby Ch­ester­field Mall.

The chaos Fri­day be­gan when hun­dreds of pro­test­ers turned out in the up­scale Cen­tral West End sec­tion, chant­ing and car­ry­ing “Black Lives Mat­ter” signs with anti-po­lice slo­gans on them.

The protest seemed rel­a­tively peace­ful un­til, dur­ing a rally out­side of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krew­son’s home, the house was pelted with rocks and paint. An­other rock was thrown through a restau­rant win­dow and two Amer­i­can flags were burned.

Sev­eral peo­ple were filmed jump­ing and danc­ing on the hood of a po­lice car, with one man break­ing the wind­shield.

Cops in riot gear fired tear gas pel­lets and pep­per balls into the crowd af­ter an un­law­ful assem­bly was de­clared at 11 p.m.

“The mayor’s home sus­tained dam­age,” St. Louis Po­lice Chief Lawrence O’Toole said in a video posted on Twit­ter late Fri­day.

“Win­dows were also bro­ken in the West End and at the St. Louis li­brary. Or­ders to dis­perse (were) given nu­mer­ous times and tear gas was or­dered af­ter of­fi­cers were as­saulted with bricks and bot­tles.”

Krew­son, who wasn’t home at the time, called the van­dal­ism “ir­ri­tat­ing.”

“This story is not about whether I got my win­dows bro­ken or not,” Krew­son said at a news con­fer­ence Satur­day.

“This is about com­ing to­gether to have a bet­ter St. Louis for all of us.”

Fri­day’s un­rest filled streets less than 15 miles from subur­ban Ferguson, Mo., where protests spark­ing the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment erupted in 2014 fol­low­ing the death of un­armed teen Michael Brown by a po­lice of­fi­cer. Stock­ley, 36, re­signed from the St. Louis Po­lice in 2013 and was charged last year with first-de­gree mur­der and armed crim­i­nal ac­tion. He pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a jury trial.

Pros­e­cu­tors ar­gued that the Smith shoot­ing was pre­med­i­tated, and that Stock­ley, who can be heard in a dash-cam video say­ing he’s “go­ing to kill this moth­erf----,” planted a gun in Smith’s car, the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch re­ported.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the St. Louis Post Dis­patch, Stock­ley said he un­der­stands the anger over the shoot­ing but in­sists he did noth­ing wrong.

“I did not mur­der An­thony La­mar Smith. I did not plant a gun,” Stock­ley said. “I can feel for and I un­der­stand what the fam­ily is go­ing through, and I know ev­ery­one wants some­one to blame, but I’m just not the guy.”

Most protests in St. Louis be­gan peace­fully af­ter ac­quit­tal of white of­fi­cer in 2011 killing of a black driver, but later Fri­day night there were clashes and 10 cops were hurt.

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