St. Louis Sees More Violent Protests after Verdict
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - St. Louis, a major US port in the state of Missouri witnessed more protests after acquittal in police shooting.
Protests turned violent for the second night on Saturday in reaction to the acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer in the fatal shooting of a black man, as a small group of demonstrators refused to disperse, breaking windows and throwing objects at police in riot gear, who eventually moved in and made arrests.
The world media and human right organizations have focused on a scene in which police attacks the riots and an old women fell down helplessly.
The confrontation took place in the Delmar Loop of the St. Louis suburb of University City. The area had been the scene of a tense but calm march earlier in the evening that ended with organizers calling for people to leave and reconvene Sunday afternoon.
But a small group of protesters refused to go. Police ordered them to disperse, saying the protest was unlawful. Hundreds of police in riot gear eventually moved in with armored vehicles. The demonstrators retreated down a street, breaking windows and throwing objects at police.
Several protesters were seen in handcuffs but the number of arrests was not immediately known. At least one demonstrator was seen being treated after he was hit with pepper spray.
The sudden eruption followed a day of non-violent demonstrations at suburban shopping malls and during the march in University City.
Demonstrators 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 the city of Des Peres, west of St. Louis, to decry a judge's verdict Friday clearing ex-officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. A group also demonstrated at Chesterfield Mall in the suburbs and at a regional food festival.
Organizers took their grievances to the suburbs Saturday to spread the impact of the protests beyond predominantly black neighborhoods to those that are mainly white.
After Stockley was acquitted on Friday, sporadic violence resulted in nearly three-dozen people arrested and 11 police officers injured, including a broken jaw and dislocated shoulder, police said. Five officers were taken to hospitals. Police said that 10 businesses were damaged. Protesters also broke a window and spattered red paint on the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
Stockley, 36, who left the force in 2013 and moved to Houston, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the verdict that he understands how the video looks bad, but insisted he did nothing wrong.
"I know everyone wants someone to blame, but I'm just not the guy," Stockley said.