St. Louis Police Shooting Protests Escalate into Violence for 3rd Night; Multiple Arrests Made
Riot police were rushed to the streets of downtown St. Louis amid reports of “significant” property damage Sunday night, the third night of violent protests after a white police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of a black man.
“This is no longer a peaceful protest.” St. Louis Police tweeted. They said officers made “multiple” arrests after “agitators” hurled debris and smashed windows.
“Groups of criminals continue to work their way through Downtown creating chaos,” police added.
Police giving order to disperse immediately at Tucker and Pine. This is no longer a peaceful protest. #stlverdict
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 18, 2017
Police appeared in riot gear as multiple people have been arrested in downtown St. Louis.
Protests throughout the day Sunday initially were referred to as “peaceful” from law enforcement, as demonstrators marched through St. Louis protesting the recent acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer who fatally shot black drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith.
Stockley, an Iraq War veteran, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday that the acquittal felt “like a burden has been lifted,” but added, “the burden of having to kill someone never really lifts.”
The city of St. Louis has been hit with daily protests since Friday, many of which have led to police officers being assaulted, properties being damaged and dozens of people being arrested.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issued a warning on Facebook on Sunday that anyone caught destroying property would be held accountable and could face felony charges.
"Saturday night, some criminals decided to pick up rocks and break windows. They thought they'd get away with it. They were wrong. Our officers caught 'em, cuffed 'em, and threw 'em in jail," the first-term Republican governor wrote.
Protests on Saturday resulted in the arrests of at least nine people. At least half of the shops on a street in a popular nightlife district were broken by the time the area was cleared of protesters.
March organizers coordinated to protest in areas beyond predominantly black neighborhoods and into those that are mainly white.
The protests appear to be similar to those that followed the fatal shooting in 2011 by police of unarmed black teenager Michael Ferguson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.