2nd day of noisy protests of cop’s acquittal in death
ST. LOUIS — Noisy demonstrators disrupted shopping at upscale suburban malls on Saturday and later marched through a popular district of bars and restaurants to protest a white St. Louis police officer’s acquittal in the killing of a black man, but the second day of protests was peaceful following sporadic vandalism and violence a night earlier.
A few hundred people shouted “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.
Hundreds of protesters then gathered in the Delmar Loop of the St. Louis suburb of University City. Susanna Prins, 27, a white woman from the suburb, carried a sign reading, “White silence is violence.”
The protests followed raucous Friday marches in downtown St. Louis and through the city’s Central West End area during the night. Nearly three-dozen people were arrested, police said, mostly for failure to disperse.
Smith’s death is just one of several high-profile U.S. cases in recent years in which a white officer killed a black suspect, including the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson that sparked months of angry and sometimes violent protests.
Federal prosecutors said Saturday they won’t open a new civil rights investigation into the killing, as the NAACP requested.
Police were prepared for a second night of protests after Friday’s demonstrations led to several clashes — including objects tossed at officers in riot gear — and culminated when protesters broke a window on the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson. Police eventually used tear gas to clear the area. Eleven officers were injured.
Anticipating more demonstrations, concerts Saturday by U2 and Sunday by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran were canceled because the Police Department said it wouldn’t be able to provide its standard protection.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson ruled that prosecutors didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley murdered Smith or that the officer didn’t act in self-defense.
Demonstrators march through the West County Center to protest the acquittal of former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting death Anthony Lamar Smith.