ST. LOUIS — The Latest on unrest following the acquittal of a white former police officer in St. Louis in the death of a black man (all times local):
Organizers of a town hall meeting said an empty chair at the front of the room was for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who canceled three of her own town halls after the acquittal of a white former police officer in the killing of a black suspect.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that organizers also flashed a list of 12 demands on a projection screen Thursday night. Among other things, they want Krewson to resign, interim police Chief Lawrence O’Toole fired, and St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson removed.
Wilson found former St. Louis officer Jason Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder on Sept. 15 in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Activist Kayla Reed said: “But there is really only one demand. Stop killing us.”
After the meeting at a church in St. Louis’ downtown, a few hundred people from the town hall marched to Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard, where a mass arrest occurred on Sept. 17. Some surrounded a police SUV and the officer announced over the vehicle speaker that it was an unlawful assembly.
But then police blocked off an area and allowed demonstrators to march in the street.
U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay is urging St. Louis County officials to seek an independent investigation into the arrests of nearly two dozen protesters at a suburban shopping mall.
The St. Louis Democrat on Thursday sent a letter to County Executive Steve Stenger and County Council Chairman Sam Page, calling accounts of the arrests “chilling and outrageous.”
Twenty-two people were arrested Saturday at the St. Louis Galleria in one of several demonstrations since white former police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted in the death of a black man.
Police defended their actions as necessary after protesters became unruly and refused to disperse.
On Wednesday, St. Louis city’s mayor and interim police chief asked the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate police misconduct claims stemming from the arrest of more than 120 people downtown on Sept. 17.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has appointed a St. Louis attorney to investigate claims that Hawley’s predecessor withheld evidence in a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
Hawley, a Republican, on Thursday appointed Hal Goldsmith to investigate. The family of Anthony Lamar Smith has alleged in a letter to Hawley’s office that former Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, and that the city of St. Louis withheld evidence in a civil suit over Smith’s death at the hands of officer Jason Stockley in 2011.
Phone and email messages seeking comment from Koster through Centene Corp., where he now works, were not immediately returned.
A judge ruled in mid-September that Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder, setting off several protests in and around St. Louis. Stockley left the department in 2013.
Two documentary filmmakers are suing the city of St. Louis and three officers after the filmmakers were arrested at a protest following the acquittal of a white former police officer in the death of a black man.
Drew and Jennifer Burbridge of Kansas City, Missouri, filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday. Among other things, it alleges Drew Burbridge was assaulted by officers to the point of unconsciousness.
A spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on Thursday declined comment.
The couple was among about 120 people taken into custody in a mass arrest on Sept. 17, two days after a judge ruled that Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
The arrests have resulted in an ACLU lawsuit and prompted widespread complaints.