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September 25, 2017

St. Louis protests turn violent after white cop's acquittal leaves city on edge


St. Louis protests turn violent after white cop’s acquittal leaves city on edge
The National Guard is on standby in St. Louis as city-wide protests are expected to continue into the night after…

The National Guard is on standby in St. Louis as city-wide protests are expected to continue into the night after a judge acquitted a white police officer who shot and killed a black man in 2011.

A judge found former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockey not guilty during a bench trial – absent a jury – Friday. Stockey was charged with first-degree murder after he shot Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, five times following a high-speed chase. A gun found in Smith’s car only had Stockey’s DNA on it, prompting the prosecution to allege it was planted.

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in St. Louis Friday, sparking concern that the protests could become dangerous and violent, similar to those after Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, was fatally shot by a cop in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Protesters in St. Louis confront park rangers at old court house after #JasonStockley found not guilty #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/ESEOkMWSX7— Will Carr (@WillCarrFNC) September 15, 2017

The protests were largely peaceful Friday afternoon, and officers often gave protesters room, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, but the St. Louis Police Department later tweeted that the protest “is no longer considered peaceful.”

This protest is no longer considered peaceful. Demonstrators are asked to leave the area of Tucker & Clark #STLVerdict— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 15, 2017

Protesters, according to St. Louis police, threw bottles at officers, smashed police vehicle windshields and are largely ignoring officers’ commands to clear a roadway. 

A handful of protesters said they were pepper-sprayed when they attempted to block a city bus from moving. Two women told the Associated Press that police in riot gear used the pepper spray as they pushed back the crowd. 

One protester was taken into custody after “damaging a police vehicle,” St. Louis police said on Twitter. 

Protestor downtown pepper sprayed after getting physical with police officers on bike patrol, not letting them get through. @ksdknews pic.twitter.com/7evVX3oxSJ— Jacob Long (@JacobLong_KSDK) September 15, 2017

“While we know emotions are running high, our number one priority is protecting and serving our citizens. We ask that citizens who choose to demonstrate, do so peacefully,” the police said in a statement. 

St. Louis activists warned of civil disobedience if Stockley was acquitted before the verdict was announced.

Fears of unrest prompted several downtown businesses to send employees home early, including Wells Fargo Advisors and Nestle Purina PetCare. U.S. Bank closed six branches. Some schools closed early and postponed events.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Source: US News/Foxnews St. Louis protests turn violent after white cop’s acquittal leaves city on edge
St. Louis protests turn violent after white cop’s acquittal leaves city on edge

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