Angry protesters wreak havoc on St. Louis overnight following cop’s aquittal

Protesters associated with Black Lives Matter and other groups took to the streets within hours of a judge’s decision to acquit white former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder charges stemming from the 2011 killing of black motorist Anthony Lamar Smith.

Making the case particularly sensitive, prosecutors alleged that the officer “executed” Smith following a chase during which the officer was recorded on a cruiser camera saying, he was “going to kill this [expletive], don’t you know it.” Stockley’s accusers also alleged that the officer planted a firearm found on Smith following the shooting.

After Stockley’s acquittal, Al Watkins, an attorney for the Smith family, told reporters that the court’s decision could have been based in racism.

“The Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly,” he said referencing the court’s verdict.

“We all know what ‘urban’ means. Urban means ‘black.’ I find that to be offensive,” Watkins continued. “I find that to be demonstrative of a judge who thinks that those who are reading this verdict are morons.”

In anticipation of unrest and high emotions following a potential acquittal, law enforcement officers and the Missouri National Guard were on standby to respond to mass protests once the ruling was handed down.

By noon Friday, hundreds of protesters made their way into the cities streets.

According to multiple reports, the protests remained mostly peaceful throughout the day.

But as the evening wore on, pockets of violence began to develop. At around 5 p.m., St. Louis police declared that one group of protesters gathered at a downtown intersection were no longer peaceful and were refusing to comply with demands to disperse. Several protesters were pepper sprayed and subjected to other means of less than lethal force from officers on the scene.

Throughout the city, groups of marchers chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Hey hey! Ho ho! These killer cops have got to go!”

At one point, groups of protesters began attempting to destroy unattended police vehicles.

At around 7:10 p.m., The Associated Press reported that journalists covering the protest were being attacked by protesters.

From the dispatch:

Some journalists covering demonstrations in downtown St. Louis over a former police officer’s acquittal in a 2011 shooting say they have been the targets of threats and violence from protesters.

A freelance videographer for The Associated Press said a protester approached him Friday, took his camera and threw it to the ground, breaking the view finder. Later in the day while he was using a different camera, he said he was surrounded by six men who told him to put the camera away or he’d be beaten.

Also Friday, a reporter for KTVI in St. Louis reported that a protester taunted him about the media, drawing a crowd. The reporter described the group as being angry and in his face, and said three water bottles were thrown at him.

As the protests wore on small groups of protesters became increasingly agitated.

The AP reported that more than 20 protesters were arrested in connection with the march as organizers regrouped on Saturday.

From the report:

More than 20 arrests were made by early evening, and some protesters were pepper-sprayed during confrontations with authorities. St. Louis police reported that 10 officers had suffered injuries by the end of the night, including a broken jaw and dislocated shoulder, and some journalists reported being threatened by protesters.

Activists said they would meet again Saturday to plan further demonstrations. The band U2 canceled its Saturday night concert in St. Louis because the police department said it wouldn’t be able to provide its standard protection for the event, organizers said.

The post Angry protesters wreak havoc on St. Louis overnight following cop’s aquittal appeared first on Personal Liberty®.