Both peaceful and violent protests occurred in the downtown streets of St. Louis over the weekend after an ex-police officer’s acquittal in the death of an African-American man.
A judge ruled Friday that Jason Stockley, 36, was not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The ruling gave rise to hundreds of people marching in the downtown area throughout the weekend.
Well over 1,000 people gathered outside the downtown headquarters before sunset and peacefully protested before nightfall. The protest took a turn by dark, and violence erupted as protestors damaged business and hotel windows, threw rocks in the mayor’s home, broke flowerpots to use as projectiles, and threw objects at police. Police were called to address the riots and by nightfall more officers arrived in riot gear. Police responded with mace and arrests.
More than 80 arrests were made in the weekend turmoil while an officer suffered a leg injury.
The St. Louis area was filled with tension. Rock band U2 and singer Ed Sheeran canceled concerts scheduled for downtown St. Louis for security concerns. Many school districts also canceled weekend activities.
Another peaceful protest is expected today.