St. Louis protesters march through upscale suburbs
ST. LOUIS — Noisy demonstrators disrupted shopping at upscale suburban malls on Saturday and later marched through a popular district of bars and restaurant to protest a white St. Louis police officer’s acquittal in the killing of a black man, marking 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 firstdegree 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.
As dusk neared, hundreds of protesters gathered in the Delmar Loop of the St. Louis suburb of University City, known for concert venues, restaurants, shops and bars.
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.
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.
The civil disobedience followed the acquittal of Stockley for fatally shooting Smith, 24, after the suspected drug dealer fled from officers trying to arrest him.
Stockley testified he felt he was in danger because he saw Smith holding a silver revolver when the suspect backed his car toward officers and sped away.
Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting.
The officer’s DNA was on the weapon but Smith’s wasn’t. Dashcam video from Stockley’s cruiser recorded him saying he was “going to kill this [expletive].”
Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.
A protester yells as a woman rushes to close the doors to a department store Saturday in Des Peres, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.