Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Louis mayor's house surrounded, officers injured during protests

A section of Poelker Park will be set aside for protests following the Jason Stockley verdict Mayor Lyda Krewson says.- IMAGE VIA GOOGLE MAPS Ex-St. Louis Cop Acquitted in 2011 Shooting of Black Driver
Frank Williams | 18 September, 2017, 08:50

Activists marched peacefully through a suburban St. Louis-area shopping mall on Saturday, hours after police clashed with a crowd protesting the acquittal of a white former policeman accused of murdering a black man. Many of them also held up signs reading "Let justice roll down like water" and "when will good officers deal with bad cops?"

Homicide detectives from the St. Louis police department deemed the shooting of Smith justified.

People march the day after the not guilty verdict in the murder trial of Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, charged with the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., September 16, 2017.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens was highly critical during his 2016 campaign of how former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon managed the Ferguson protests, suggesting that with the right presence and leadership there could have been peace by the second night. The mayor did not appear to be in, and some 200 police in full riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

"It's counterproductive", said Democratic Representative Michael Butler, who added that people he described as "agitators" are not part of protest leadership.

Reports indicate that the woman was arrested and even pepper sprayed after allegedly being trampled on by riot police.

Heading into a third night of protests, organisers said they were frustrated that a few people who have caused trouble at night could make it harder to spread their non-violent message.

"In light of this information, we can not in good conscience risk our fans' safety by proceeding with tonight's concert", Live Nation and U2 said in the statement posted on the band's website.

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Police officers have alleged that some protesters engaged in violent behavior, such as throwing rocks and empty water bottles.

"We will not tolerate violence", Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole said.

Smith, 24, fled from Stockley and led him on a high-speed chase that lasted three minutes, with speeds reaching almost 90 miles per hour.

Stockley claimed he saw Smith holding a gun but prosecutors said the officer planted a gun in Smith's vehicle after the shooting. Stockley maintained that Smith reached for the gun and that he shot Smith in self defense.

Anticipating more demonstrations Saturday, the band U2 canceled its evening concert in St. Louis because the police department said it wouldn't be able to provide its standard protection for the event, organizers said. "This mob was intent on destroying or damaging property, assaulting police officers and setting fires", he said.

In his first public comments since the verdict, Stockley, 36, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday it felt as if "a burden has been lifted, but the burden of having to kill someone never really lifts".

But some celebrities are avoiding St. Louis this weekend.

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