Ten St. Louis Cops Injured During Friday Night Riot – Mayor’s Home, Businesses Vandalized
St. Louis Riot – Friday Night
St. Louis, MO – Protests became violent in St. Louis after the acquittal of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley. Ten police officers were injured, and there was vandalism at several businesses and at the mayor’s home.
Stockley was acquitted on Friday morning by Judge Timothy Wilson in the December, 2011 shooting and death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
The protests were mostly peaceful until dark, when the violence began. Protesters went to various neighborhoods, with their numbers increasing throughout Friday evening.
Some were chanting, “If you kill our kids, we kill your economy!” They called for officer’s resignations and an economic boycott of the city.
The crowd marched to Southland Kingshighway, which was closed from Lindell to the interstate. Police officers’ cars blocked the on-ramps and off-ramps. Later, protesters marched to the Central West End, and pulled down several American flags that lined the street and burned them.
Late Friday night, September 15, a crowd of about 1,000 protesters surrounded Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home in the Central West End, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Red paint was thrown at her home, and at least two windows were broken before about 200 police officers in riot gear arrived to disperse the crowd. It isn’t known if the mayor was inside her home at the time.
Acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said that ten police officers had been injured by 9 PM on Friday night. One officer had a dislocated shoulder, and another officer had a possible broken jaw.
A Highway Patrol trooper was also reported to be injured, but the extent of his injuries are not known. The names of the injured police officers were not released.
Two police officers were injured by bricks that had been thrown at them, and one officer’s injuries was described as serious. At least one officer was hurt but declined medical treatment. Four officers received minor injuries downtown from protesters throwing things at them. One officer sustained a hand injury, and three others declined treatment.
Police said on Saturday morning that 32 people had been arrested on Friday. Police did not release the names or charges of those arrested but said that the information is “forthcoming.”
Chief O’Toole said, “Many of the demonstrators were peaceful, however after dark, many agitators began to destroy property and assault police officers”.
Several businesses including Evangeline’s Bistro and Culpeppers Grill, and a St. Louis Public Library branch were damaged on Friday night. Chief O’Toole said that officers fired pepper pellets and tear gas to disperse the crowds at that location.
He said, “Orders to disperse were given numerous times. Tear gas was deployed after officers were assaulted with bricks and bottles. Officers did deploy pepper balls as a less-than-lethal option after agitators continued to assault officers with objects and destroy property”.
Many protesters went to the Central Reform Congregation Synagogue as a place to meet and plan. Police officers who were near that location were hit by bricks.
Two protest groups, ArchCity Defenders, the St. Louis Action Council, and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Employment were highly critical of police response.
In a statement, they said that police and city officials were “demonizing protesters by preemptively bemoaning violence and unrest, calling instead for peace’.” The groups issued the statement together, and said “True peace, requires justice, and there was nothing just about today’s verdict.