In a now-deleted Facebook Live briefing, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson read the full names and partial as well as full addresses of protesters who wrote letters encouraging her to defund the police department on the evening of June 26, KSDK-TV reported.
Some have referred to her actions as “doxing,” or collecting personal and private information and then publicly releasing that information online, which has caused an immediate backlash, with the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the ACLU of Missouri.
The mayor has since apologized for her actions and said she wanted to be “transparent,” but a petition has already begun circulating seeking her resignation which more than 10,000 had signed.
Mayor Krewson Met With Protesters Friday Afternoon
Demonstrators showed up to City Hall and met with Krewson and according to KSDK-TV, she said the demonstrators were “very loud,” and that she and them didn’t have “a two-way conversation.” She also said the demonstrators gave her papers with suggestions on how to reallocate the budget.
According to the Riverfront Times, the coronavirus briefing was wrapping up when Krewson’s spokesperson, Jacob Long, read a question from a woman named Rachel about how her meeting with the demonstrators went. The Riverfront Times reported that she said the following:
Well thank you for that, Rachel. So there was a demonstration here, in front — sort of on Tucker and Market here — and the demonstrators wanted to meet with me. So I went outside City Hall, in the circle on the Tucker side of City Hall. The conversation wasn’t really a two-way conversation, I’ll be honest with you, because there was a very loud, um, very loud response from the demonstrators. And so they gave me some papers about how they thought, uh — in fact I’ll go pick it up off my desk, hang on.
Krewson then proceeded to read the first and last names of 10 people as well as the streets they lived on and sometimes exact addresses, KSDK-TV reported. She also read their description of how they thought the money should be allocated for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Some of the reallocation suggestions included sending $50 million to Cure Violence, $75 million to affordable housing, $60 million to Health and Human Services, the Riverfront Times reported. Many wanted no money to go to the police. Krewson said, “I agree with all these things, by the way — except we’re not going to take all the money from the police.”
Krewson Has Faced Backlash from Constituents and Civil Rights Groups
Local politicians, including Alderwomen Megan Green of Ward 15 and Cara Spencer of Ward 20, spoke out against Krewson’s behavior and even after it was taken down, Green pointed out that Krewson should have never released that information and the video could have easily been downloaded.
The ACLU of Missouri also issued a statement, which was posted on Facebook:
Even though the letters are public records, public records requests require identifying information from the requester, which means that if the subject of those records is harassed, the requester can easily be traced; doxing means there is no record of who has the information.
Krewson has since apologized for reading the personal information on a public forum online. Here is the full statement that Krewson released, as local TV station KMOV-4 reported:
In an effort to be transparent and accessible to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic, for more than three months now I have been doing tri-weekly community updates on Facebook. Tonight, I would like to apologize for identifying individuals who presented letters to me at City Hall as I was answering a routine question during one of my updates earlier today. While this is public information, I did not intend to cause distress or harm to anyone. The post has been removed.