Protests re­main peace­ful after St. Louis rul­ing

Tulsa World - - Datelines - By Jim Sal­ter and Sum­mer Bal­len­tine

ST. LOUIS — Noisy demon­stra­tors dis­rupted shop­ping at up­scale sub­ur­ban St. Louis shop­ping malls and marched through a popular dis­trict of bars and restau­rants Satur­day in peace­ful protests over the ac­quit­tal of a white St. Louis po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot a black man, and there was no sign of the spo­radic van­dal­ism and vi­o­lence that marred the ral­lies a night ear­lier.

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 mall 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..

On Satur­day evening, hun­dreds of pro­test­ers marched through 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. After three hours, or­ga­niz­ers of march­ing, or­ga­niz­ers asked pro­test­ers to dis­band Satur­day evening and re­con­vene Sun­day af­ter­noon.

No ar­rests were re­ported at any of the events on Satur­day.

The peace­ful 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.

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.


Pro­test­ers march through West County Mall in re­sponse to a not guilty ver­dict in the trial of for­mer St. Louis po­lice of­fi­cer Ja­son Stock­ley as po­lice of­fi­cers stand by on Satur­day in Des Peres, Mis­souri.

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