A group of peaceful protesters assembled in St. Louis on Sunday afternoon, marking a third consecutive day of demonstrations against the acquittal of a former police officer who fatally shot a black suspect.
At around 3 p.m. local time, protesters began gathering outside St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters. In a tweet shortly after they began assembling, the department characterized the gathering as a ″[p]eaceful demonstration.”
Protesters have been taking to St. Louis streets since Friday, when a judge acquitted white former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, 36, for fatally shooting black drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, in 2011.
Stockley, who shot Smith five times after the man fled from him and his partner during an attempted arrest, testified that he saw Smith holding a revolver. Prosecutors allege that Stockley planted the gun in Smith’s car after the shooting, as the weapon carried his DNA but not Smith’s. In a video obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Stockley can be heard saying that he’s “going to kill this motherf****r,” just minutes before he shot Smith.
While isolated instances of violence during Friday and Saturday protests led to arrests, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson ― whose home was damaged by some protesters ― emphasized that the demonstrations have been largely peaceful.
“It may not look like it in the media, but yesterday’s protests were mostly non-violent,” she said in a statement Saturday. “Unfortunately, we had incidents of sporadic violence and vandalism that will be the lasting images written about and played on television.”