Protests con­tinue in St. Louis af­ter of­fi­cer’s ac­quit­tal in slay­ing

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Nation&world - By The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Noisy demon­stra­tors dis­rupted shop­ping at up­scale subur­ban malls on Satur­day and later marched through a district of bars and restau­rants to protest a white St. Louis po­lice of­fi­cer’s ac­quit­tal in the killing of a black man. It marked a se­cond day of mostly peace­ful op­po­si­tion marred by spo­radic in­ci­dents of van­dal­ism and vi­o­lence.

A few hun­dred peo­ple shouted slo­gans such as “black lives mat­ter” and “it is our duty to fight for our free­dom” as they marched through West County Cen­ter in Des Peres to de­cry the judge’s ver­dict Fri­day clear­ing ex-of­fi­cer Ja­son Stock­ley of first-de­gree mur­der in the 2011 shoot­ing of An­thony La­mar Smith.

A short time later, a group demon­strated at Ch­ester­field Mall and a re­gional food fes­ti­val. No ar­rests were re­ported at any of the demon­stra­tions.

Later, hun­dreds of pro­test­ers gath­ered in the Del­mar Loop of the St. Louis sub­urb of Univer­sity City, known for con­cert venues, restau­rants, shops and bars.

The protests fol­lowed rau­cous Fri­day marches in down­town St. Louis and through the city’s posh Cen­tral West End area dur­ing the night. Pro­test­ers wanted the en­tire re­gion, not just pre­dom­i­nantly black ar­eas, to be up­set with the ver­dict and feel its im­pact.

“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 or­ga­nizer.

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said Satur­day that they won’t open a new civil rights in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the killing, as the NAACP re­quested. Jus­tice Depart­ment spokes­woman Lau­ren Ehrsam said the depart­ment de­cided ear­lier in Septem­ber not to pros­e­cute, but didn’t an­nounce it then to avoid af­fect­ing the state crim­i­nal case.

Po­lice were pre­pared for a se­cond night of protests af­ter Fri­day’s demon­stra­tions led to sev­eral clashes — in­clud­ing rocks thrown at a po­lice car and ob­jects tossed at of­fi­cers in riot gear — and cul­mi­nated when pro­test­ers broke a win­dow and spat­tered red paint on the home of Mayor Lyda Krew­son. Po­lice even­tu­ally used tear gas to clear the area.

Reed said pro­test­ers went to Krew­son’s house be­cause de­spite her sup­port on so­cial me­dia, she was not in the streets with the peo­ple.

Nearly three dozen peo­ple were ar­rested Fri­day, po­lice said, mostly for fail­ure to dis­perse, re­sist­ing and in­ter­fer­ing.

Po­lice said 11 of­fi­cers were in­jured Fri­day, in­clud­ing a bro­ken jaw and dis­lo­cated shoul­der. Five of­fi­cers were taken to hos­pi­tals. Po­lice also said that 10 busi­nesses were dam­aged, mostly bro­ken win­dows.

Demo­cratic St. Louis Rep. Michael But­ler said po­lice were ag­gres­sive and an­tag­o­nized pro­test­ers who were largely non­vi­o­lent. Both he and Reed said vi­o­lence by a few was un­fairly used to de­scribe protests as a whole.

The rock band U2 can­celed Satur­day’s con­cert in St. Louis be­cause po­lice said they wouldn’t be able to pro­vide their stan­dard pro­tec­tion for the event, or­ga­niz­ers said.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In Des Peres, Mo., a pro­tester yelled as a woman rushed to close a store’s doors as demon­stra­tors marched through West County Mall in re­sponse to Fri­day’s ver­dict.

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