For the fourth consecutive night, large groups of protesters have gathered in downtown St. Louis. The previous three nights, the demonstrations turned violent as protesters clashed with police officers. Over 13 law enforcement officers have been injured and over 160 people have been arrested.
Watch a live stream of the fourth night of protests in the video at the top of the page.
On Monday night, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of the St. Louis City Justice Center, the same place where over 50 people who were arrested were set to be released on bail.
Many businesses in the area said they would close early due to fear of property damage, as some businesses have experienced broken windows and additional damage. Over the weekend, protesters confronted officers, who deployed teargas and pepper balls to drive away the unruly crowds. Police said demonstrators threw numerous objects at them, including bricks and bottles.
“The St. Louis Police Department will continue to ensure that our citizens are able to execute their constitutional rights peacefully,” Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said. “Our officers have been very tolerant and used great restraint. However, this evening we’ve had some incidents.”
Among those incidents was a group of people jumping on a St. Louis Police vehicle, smashing its windshield in the process.
Another incident occurred at the St. Louis Public Library, where protesters broke the glass windows and doors of the building.
During one gathering, a group of protesters targeted the home of Krewson. They broke at least two windows and threw red paint on the home before police moved in with riot gear and teargas, 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.
Stockley said he acted in self defense when he shot Smith because he thought he was reaching for a weapon.
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 on him 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.