Third day of protests set over police acquittal in St. Louis


ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – Protests were to resume in St. Louis on Sunday in the wake of the acquittal of a white former policeman in the fatal shooting of a black man, after a second night of sporadic violence between a small group of demonstrators and riot police.

Protesters will hold a rally outside police headquarters at 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT) and deliver a single demand, one of the organizers, Tory Russell, said without giving details.

“We are going to disrupt and be very innovative. The world will see,” Russell, who is with the International Black Freedom Alliance, said in an interview.

After peaceful marches through the Missouri city wound down Saturday night, violence flared between about 100 protesters, some holding bats or hammers, and police in riot gear.

Store and restaurant windows along a commercial strip in west St. Louis were smashed, and police said they arrested at least nine people.

Rock band U2 canceled a Saturday concert in St. Louis. Singer Ed Sheeran did the same for his show on Sunday. Both cited security concerns.

Red paint is splattered on the shield of a policeman during the second night of demonstrations after a not guilty verdict in the murder trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, charged with the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant

Demonstrations began peacefully on Friday after Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, 36, of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24.

Protesters later clashed with police, and 33 people were arrested and 10 officers injured by early Saturday morning. Police said protesters also damaged Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home.

Smith was shot in his car after Stockley and his partner chased him following an alleged drug deal, authorities said. Prosecutors argued that Stockley planted a weapon in Smith’s car.

Stockley left the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 2013. Smith’s family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the city for $900,000 in 2013.

An informal group of St. Louis-based activists known as the Ferguson frontline have organized the protests. The group has focused on what it describes as institutional racism since rioting erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, after a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot black teenager Michael Brown in 2014.

A grand jury decided not to charge Wilson, and the U.S. Justice Department declined to bring any charges of civil rights violations against him.

Brown’s death triggered sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and around the United States, fueled by police killings of unarmed black men in other cities. It also helped spark debate about racial bias in the U.S. justice system.

Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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