ST. LOUIS — Hundreds of police officers in full riot gear responded to the streets of downtown St. Louis after a third day of peaceful demonstrations over a former officer’s acquittal in the shooting death of a black man gave way to property damage and dangerous encounters with officers, the same pattern that unfolded on the previous two days
Another round of protests was in the works for Monday, with demonstrators planning to meet at 7 a.m. near Union Station downtown.
Police said more than 80 people were arrested late Sunday and early Monday, five weapons were confiscated and some officers suffered minor or moderate injuries. All were expected to return to duty soon.
A judge on Friday ruled that Jason Stockley, a 36-year-old who left the department and moved to Houston three years ago, was not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The ruling set off peaceful protests that turned raucous throughout the weekend.
Hundreds of people marched through the streets of downtown, the posh Central West End, and the trendy Delmar Loop area of nearby University City. Protesters also marched through two shopping malls in a wealthy area of St. Louis County.
Sunday’s protest began at the police headquarters downtown. Following the same sequence of events as in the previous days, well over 1,000 people marched peacefully for several hours.
By nightfall, most had gone home. The 100 or so demonstrators who remained grew increasingly agitated as they marched toward the core of downtown. Along the way, they began to knock over large planters, broke windows at a few shops and hotels, and scattered plastic chairs at an outdoor venue.
A reporter for CBS St. louis affiliate KMOV-TV tweeted pictures of some of the damage:
Things got worse when, according to police, demonstrators sprayed bottles with an unknown substance on officers. Police were still trying to determine what was in the bottles.
Police tweeted about it:
KMOV reports firefighters worked to decontaminate the officers.
Soon after, buses brought in additional officers in riot gear, and a police presence…