At least nine St. Louis Police officers were injured after protesters hurled objects at them when they were told to disperse.
Protests, a majority of them peaceful, occurred throughout the day Friday following a controversial not guilty verdict in the death of a black man killed by a white cop.
Pockets of protesters joined each other during the afternoon and evening in the downtown areas to rally against police injustice, the court system and the city. However, those protests turned violent as demonstrators blocked various streets and refused to disperse when authorities ordered them to.
Some protesters threw rocks and other objects at officers, broke windows of cars and buildings and remained combative with officers, who responded with pepper spray and tear gas.
As of midnight, 23 arrests have been made in the protests.
Despite the chaos, one officer took it upon himself to assist a couple needing to get to a hospital because the female was in labor. The police vehicle is shown in a video driving through groups of people with its sirens on with the couple following behind in their car.
“She’s in labor,” the officer says to KSDK News reporter Casey Nolen,
Watch the video of the incident below:
During one gathering, about 1,000 protesters marched targeted the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. They broke at least two windows and threw red paint on the home before police moved in with riot gear, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The unrest in St. Louis stems from Judge Timothy J. Wilson’s not guilty verdict in a case involving Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis Police officer, and Anthony Lamar Smith.
Stockley and a partner said they saw Smith take part in what they thought was a drug deal in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on December 20, 2011. As the officers approached Smith, he fled in his vehicle, nearly clipping Stockley and the other officer, photos from surveillance cameras show. Stockley fired at least one shot at Smith as he led them on a high-speed pursuit.
A police dashcam video shows Stockley saying he’s “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it” while in pursuit of Smith.
Watch a video from the police dashcam video below:
Smith’s vehicle eventually slowed, and the officers decided to crash into his vehicle with theirs. Immediately after, Stockley got out of his car and fired five shots at Smith, which killed him. Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun that was found on Smith afterward. Subsequent testing found Stockley’s DNA on the firearm but not Smiths.
Wilson acquitted Stockley on Friday, saying in his ruling that the state failed to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley did not act in self-defense.”
“This court, as the trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant’s guilt,” Wilson wrote in his verdict. “Agonizingly, this court has poured over the evidence again and again. This court has viewed the video evidence from the restaurant’s surveillance camera, the cameras in the police vehicle, and the cell phone video by the lay witness, over and over again – innumerable times.”
Read the verdict in the court document below:
During Stockley’s trial, prosecutors argued that he intended to kill Smith by firing a “kill shot” and then planting a gun after the shooting. An FBI expert testified that at least one shot was fired at Smith from less than 6 inches away, KMOV News reported.