After Politicians Call For Safe Space For Rioting, Governor Promises The Only Safe Space They Will Have Is A Jail Cell
No Leniency For Violent Criminals
St. Louis, MO – Violence continued for a second night in St. Louis after the acquittal of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley.
Stockley was acquitted in the 2011 officer-involved shooting and death of Anthony Lamar Smith on Friday, September 15, according to Fox News. The violent protests started after Friday’s acquittal, and eleven police officers were injured on Friday.
In response, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said, “We had leaders who wanted to give people a safe space to loot and to burn. Now in Missouri if you loot the only safe space you’re going to have is in a jail cell.”
He said, “If you’re going to riot we’re going to cuff you. Violence and vandalism is not protest. It is a crime.”
More than 43 people have been arrested since Stockley’s acquittal, and violence is expected to continue on Sunday. On Saturday, protesters took to the streets again, and were met with a line of police officers in riot gear.
A small group of looters and rioters broke out dozens of windows at locally-owned stores, and threw objects at police officers. One teen threw cement blocks at the officers. An Associated Press reporter said there were broken windows on businesses on one side of the street for two blocks.
Witnesses said that one man hit a police cruiser repeatedly with a hammer. More than six people were arrested on Saturday night.
Saturday’s protests were mostly peaceful earlier in the day, and became violent after dark, much like Friday’s protests, where eleven officers were injured, and windows were broken at Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home. St. Louis Acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said “we will not tolerate violence”.
A “die-in” is scheduled to be held at 3 PM near St. Louis headquarters on Sunday. Social worker, activist, and Congressional candidate Cori Bush, who helped lead the protesters Saturday evening, called for the die-in. She said it would last six minutes, one minute for each year since the event occurred.
Bush said that media and city officials had “focused too much” on Friday’s violence.
She used a loud speaker to tell the crowd, “None of it could’ve happened at all, had there not been a dead body, had there not been a police officer who did something absolutely horrendous. The message is simple: stop killing us. Black folks say, stop killing us.”
Two major concerts, U2 on Saturday night, and Ed Sheeran on Sunday were cancelled because of the violence. Other events were either postponed or cancelled.