St. Louis Protesters Go Straight for the Mayor When Cop-Shooting Verdict Doesn’t Go Their Way

Multiple reports of property damage and violence came out of St. Louis on Friday after Judge Timothy Wilson issued his ruling in the Jason Stockley murder trial.

Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, was charged with murder in the 2011 shooting of suspected heroin dealer Anthony Lamar Smith. At the time of the shooting, both local authorities and the Obama Justice Department declined to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence.

In 2016, when St. Louis City Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce was set to leave the office, she reintroduced the case, stating her decision was based on undisclosed “new evidence.”

As the trial began, so did the rumbling. Activists and clergy in St. Louis banded together to call for a conviction, some even threatening the judge presiding over the case. In a letter written to Wilson, according to the St. Louis American, they wrote:

Social unrest is bound to occur. Any decision rendered by you other than a guilty verdict will make you liable for any ensuing unrest or acts of aggression. In biblical terms, “the blood will be on your hands.”

Stockley’s bench trial concluded in August. The verdict — along with a 30-page ruling on the case — was delivered Friday morning, and the protests began immediately.

Throughout the day, crowds gathered on the streets of St. Louis — protests sprang up near the courthouse and in front of the police department — but as night fell, they moved into a different neighborhood: Mayor Lyda Krewson’s upscale neighborhood in the Central West End.

Krewson had previously made it clear that although protests were expected and would be accommodated, violence would not be acceptable:

And she expressed her sympathy for those who were upset about the verdict, saying that she too was “sobered by the outcome”:

Apparently, that was not enough, and the angry mob converged upon her home Friday night:

Throughout the night, the St Louis Police Department shared photos and updates that painted a sobering picture of just how bad things got:

The police department did note that, at least during the daytime hours, the majority of the protesters remained peaceful — and it made a great point when it said that “those causing destruction distract from the message” of peaceful protesters.

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