More protests follow acquittal
ST. LOUIS — On edge after a night of protests that led to dozens of arrests and a broken window at the mayor’s home, more demonstrations came Saturday after the acquittal of a white former police officer who shot and killed a black driver.
Businesses and community groups announced closings, cancellations and postponements after protests ran deep into the night Friday, and demonstration leaders, outraged by the acquittal, said more marches were planned.
Tensions here have seemed especially high, in part because the region has been at the center of the nation’s debate over police treatment of black people. St. Louis is about 10 miles south of Ferguson, where unrest erupted three years ago after another police shooting.
City and state law enforcement officials repeatedly struck a note of warning Saturday, promising that they would not tolerate violence during the protests. But as of Saturday afternoon, the protests had unfolded without incident.
In the morning, about 200 people gathered in a park in University City, outside St. Louis, preparing to march. Joan Bray, 72, a former state lawmaker who was in the crowd, said she was distressed “that the verdict was so inevitable,” adding, “It’s so sided to the police.”
Protesters converged on West County Center, a suburban mall about 20 miles from St. Louis. At the mall, which was also a site of Ferguson protests, demonstrators chanted, “You can’t stop revolution” and “No justice, no profits.”
A few stores closed their security gates but reopened after the demonstrators had passed. Police officers stood nearby.
The demonstrations continued at various retail sites in the afternoon. Protesters marched through the Chesterfield Mall, another suburban shopping center west of St. Louis, and then to the Taste of St. Louis, an outdoor exhibition for local restaurants.
Mike Kociela, the producer of the Taste of St. Louis, welcomed the marchers, who cheered. Some protesters were allowed to take the microphone at the bandstand.
“We love you. Whether you love us back is irrelevant,” Cori Bush, 41, an AfricanAmerican activist from the suburb of Florissant, told the mostly white patrons. “We are not trying to take anyone hostage. We are here to let you know that black lives matter.”
The band U2 canceled a concert scheduled for Saturday night at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis because the city’s Police Department could not provide enough officers for security, a statement on the band’s website said.
Protesters march through the West County Mall in Des Peres, Mo., on Saturday, a day after a judge delivered a not-guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley. Stockley was accused of the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase.