St. Louis, Missouri braced itself for protests following the verdict on the Stockley trial, in which police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty for shooting and killing a black man after a car chase.
But the demonstrations Friday night were more violent than city officials had anticipated–reaching the home of Democratic Mayor Lyda Krewson. Nearly 1,000 agitators surrounded Krewson’s home, smashing windows and smearing the house with red paint.
Demonstrations against the ruling began late Friday after Stockley’s acquittal was announced earlier in the day. Mayor Krewson had designated a specific protest area at Tucker and Market. City officials praised the conduct of protesters, who initially remained peaceful.
Thx 2 officers & citizens exercising free speech rights 4 practicing restraint & good judgement @ today’s protests. Thx all STL 4 patience.
— Mayor Lyda Krewson (@LydaKrewson) September 15, 2017
But the crowd became violent after nightfall. Agitators moved beyond the designated and began walking through downtown St. Louis.They shattered the windows of several businesses and the public library.
Several of the agitators were seen openly carrying rifles.
— Angela Vollin (@prophetickeys) September 16, 2017
Eventually, the crowd of nearly 1,000 made it to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson.
— CHRIS_1791 (@Chris_1791) September 16, 2017
Vandals threw red paint onto Krewson’s home and broke windows.
— St. Louis Magazine (@stlmag) September 16, 2017
At one point, the protesters were able to walk up to the mayor’s front door. It is not known whether Krewson was at home at the time of the protests.
When police arrived on the scene, they ordered the crowd to disperse.
— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) September 16, 2017
But agitators resisted leaving the scene, hurling bricks and bottles.
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 15, 2017
Multiple police were stricken down by the heavy objects and taken to the hospital.
— Jacob Long (@JacobLongSTL) September 16, 2017
In response, law enforcement used tear gas and other crowd control equipment to break up the group.
Police deploy tear gas near Mayor Krewson's home in the Central West End. Agitators are breaking her windows and smearing paint on her home pic.twitter.com/cVaUlHcdU5
— FOX2now (@FOX2now) September 16, 2017
Agitators fled. Some were seen shooting firecrackers at reporters on the scene.
Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole published a video statement with Mayor Krewson to condemn the violence and urge peaceful protest, seen below.
Chief O'Toole & Mayor Krewson update citizens on tonight's demonstrations. https://t.co/7thVAbntCX
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 16, 2017
According to O’Toole, nine St. Louis police officers and one Missouri State Patrol were hurt. Injuries included broken jaws and dislocated shoulders. Multiple arrests were made, with the specific number rising as police process the individuals detained.
Krewson, who was not injured in the chaotic protests, called the violence “unacceptable.”
Protesters argued that slain black man Anthony Lamar Smith was innocent. He was shot after leading police on a car chase. Smith had backed into the police’s vehicle to get away when they attempted to detain him as part of a drug investigation.
Jason Stockley claims he shot Smith when the latter reached for a gun. A fire arm was found in his car. It was later discovered that Smith had a criminal record, which included guns and drugs.