Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis Police Department officer, was acquitted of charges that he intentionally killed Black driver Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Stockley’s acquittal led to citywide protests, dozens of arrests, and damage to the mayor’s home among other developments.
Stockley was cleared of murder charges on Friday, which galvanized protesters who rallied for justice on behalf of Smith and his family. While court documents show that Stockley was recorded saying that he was going to kill Smith during a high-speed chase in December 2011, that evidence wasn’t enough to get a charge to stick. What ensued initially were peaceful protests that suddenly grew violent as the night wore on.
From local outlet KMOV.com:
The altercation began when a group of protesters converged on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home and threw rocks and broke windows, as well as splashed red paint on the building.
Police responded immediately and cleared protesters from the property. The crowd was pressed further and further back from the home, and officers warned anyone who did not comply with orders would be arrested.
Tear gas was later deployed as more than 100 officers gathered in riot gear and gas masks in the area around Krewson’s home. Flashbangs were deployed to disperse the crowd and protesters threw objects at the advancing a police line, including tear gas canisters.
Altercations continued between the crowd and officers as the protesters moved throughout the Central West End.
After midnight, police began pushing protesters down Euclid, and members of the crowd threw rocks in response. Many struck passenger vehicles and buses.
Demonstrators smashed windows at the St. Louis Public Library at Euclid and Lindell, vandalizing walls and throwing books on the floor.
According to more recent accounts, 32 people have been arrested and around seven police officers were injured. The deployment of tear gas and pepper balls to disperse peacefully demonstrating crowds also took place, and damage to structures around the city are continuing to be reported.
As this story develops, we will add more details as we learn them.
Photo: family handout