Protests erupt after former St. Louis police officer acquitted of killing black man – World

Protesters have broken a front window and splattered red paint at St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home, and police have responded in force, using tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Several hundred chanting protesters marched to the house Friday night following the earlier acquittal of a white former police officer in a 2011 shooting death. Two rang the doorbell but no one responded.

After the window was broken, police in bullet-proof vests and helmets arrived and demanded that the protesters get off the lawn and out of the street in front of the house.

Several dozen more officers with shields and full riot gear later arrived and forced the protesters down the street toward another equally large group of police in full riot gear. One man resisted and was arrested.

Shortly before the window was broken one of the protesters said over a bullhorn, “we think we have the right house.”

The officer was acquitted in the death of a black man who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase, and hundreds of demonstrators streamed into the streets of downtown St. Louis to protest the decision that had stirred fears of civil unrest for weeks.

Ahead of the acquittal, activists threatened civil disobedience if Jason Stockley were not convicted, including possible efforts to shut down highways. Barricades went up last month around police headquarters, the courthouse where the trial was held and other potential protest sites.

Protesters were on the march within hours of the decision. By mid-afternoon, officers had used pepper spray on some demonstrators.

By Friday evening, 13 arrests had been made and four officers hurt. None was hospitalized, St. Louis interim police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said.

The case played out not far from the suburb of Ferguson, which was the scene of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who was killed by a white police officer in 2014. That officer was never charged but eventually resigned.

Stockley, who was charged with first-degree murder, insisted he saw Anthony Lamar Smith holding a gun and felt he was in imminent danger. Prosecutors said the officer planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting. The officer asked the case to be decided by a judge instead of a jury.

“This court, in conscience, cannot say that the state has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt or that the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defence,” St. Louis…

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