Demon­stra­tions mostly peace­ful after ac­quit­tal

Judge cleared cop in 2011 shoot­ing of black man

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jim Salter and Sum­mer Ballentine

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 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.

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 and in­clud­ing the fa­mous Blue­berry Hill where rock leg­end Chuck Berry played for many years.

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.

Su­sanna Prins, 27, a white woman from Univer­sity City, car­ried a sign read­ing, “White si­lence is vi­o­lence.”

“Not say­ing or do­ing any­thing makes you com­plicit in the bru­tal­iza­tion of our friends and neigh­bors,” Prins said.

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. Jus­tice De­part­ment spokes­woman Lau­ren Ehrsam said the de­part­ment con­cluded 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 two dozen people were ar­rested be­fore dark Fri­day, po­lice said, and more were taken into cus­tody later.

Po­lice said 10 of­fi­cers were in­jured Fri­day, in­clud­ing a bro­ken jaw and dis­lo­cated shoul­der. Some jour­nal­ists re­ported hav­ing equip­ment dam­aged and be­ing threat­ened by pro­test­ers.

Scott Ol­son, Getty Im­ages

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