St. Louis cop’s acquittal triggers second day of protests

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Noisy demonstrators marched through two malls in an upscale area of suburban St. Louis Saturday to protest the acquittal of a white former St. Louis officer in the shooting of a black man, picking up after a night of mostly peaceful demonstrations that escalated into scattered acts of vandalism and violence.

A few hundred people walked through West County Center in Des Peres, an upscale community west of St. Louis, loudly chanting slogans such as “black lives matter” and “it is our duty to fight for our freedom” to decry the judge’s verdict Friday clearing ex-St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. A short time later, they demonstrated at Chesterfield Mall and at a festival featuring restaurant food from across the region. No arrests were reported at any of the demonstrations.

The mall protests followed raucous daytime marches in downtown St. Louis and through the city’s posh Central West End area during the night. Protesters were making it clear, they said, that the entire region, not just predominantly black areas of St. Louis, should feel uncomfortable with the verdict and its impact.

A protester yells as a woman rushes to close the doors to a department store as protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

“I feel helpless and I feel just rage,” Susanna Prins, a 27-year-old white woman from University City, another St. Louis suburb, said. She carried a sign reading, “White silence is violence.”

“Not saying or doing anything makes you complicit in the brutalization of our friends and neighbors,” Prins said.

Smith’s death is just one of several high-profile U.S. cases in recent years in which a white officer killed a black suspect, including the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson that sparked months of angry and sometimes violent protests.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens was highly critical during his 2016 campaign of how former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon managed the Ferguson protests, suggesting that with the right presence and leadership there could have been peace by the second night.

In advance of the Stockley verdict, Greitens met with Smith’s fiancée, black state lawmakers, black St. Louis faith leaders and law enforcement in the hopes of projecting a shared message that peaceful protest would be tolerated but violence wouldn’t.

Before the verdict, Greitens put the National Guard on standby, and some troops were deployed Friday night to guard fire stations and other “critical infrastructure” that Greitens didn’t specify. He was in St. Louis Friday night and met with local law enforcement officials.

Police erected barricades around their own headquarters and the courthouse and dozens of officers in flak jackets and helmets who wielded batons and shields corralled demonstrators throughout the day and evening.

Demonstrators occasionally lobbed objects into the fortified line of officers, who used pepper spray to repel the crowd.

Tensions flared several times, including when protesters blocked a bus full of riot officers, damaged a police cruiser with rocks and later broke a window and spattered red paint on the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson.

After a tense standoff at the mayor’s home, police used tear gas to clear the area.

Police said they made nearly two-dozen arrests before dark and more in the evening, though they still hadn’t provided an updated figure more than 12 hours later.

Police reported that 10 officers suffered injuries by the end of the night, including a broken jaw and dislocated shoulder, and some journalists reported being having equipment damaged and being threatened by protesters.

Anticipating more demonstrations Saturday, the band U2 canceled its evening concert in St. Louis because the police department said it wouldn’t be able to provide its standard protection for the event, organizers said.

Police generally stayed a step ahead of protesters on Friday, preventing them from efforts to block an interstate highway or storm the city’s convention center.

Protesters seemed to be taking a different tact on Saturday. During a morning gathering in a suburban park they forced members of the media to stand away from them, over the objections of reporters, including one from The Associated Press. At that meeting, they devised the plan to meet at the malls.

The civil disobedience followed the acquittal of Stockley for fatally shooting Smith, 24, after the suspected drug dealer crashed his car following a chase.

Stockley testified that he saw Smith holding a silver revolver as he sped away and felt he was in imminent danger as he was approaching the vehicle later.

Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting – Stockley’s DNA was on the weapon but Smith’s wasn’t. Dashcam video from Stockley’s cruiser captured him saying he was “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it.” Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.

Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the comment as “human emotions” uttered during a dangerous pursuit and the judge said it could be ambiguous.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson said prosecutors didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley murdered Smith or that the officer didn’t act in self-defense.

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the verdict, Stockley, 36, said he understands how video of the shooting looks bad, but that he did nothing wrong.

“I can feel for and I understand what the family is going through, and I know everyone wants someone to blame, but I’m just not the guy,” said Stockley, who left St. Louis’ police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.

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Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley as police officers stand by Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley as police officers stand by Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A flag is set on fire as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A flag is set on fire as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police line up as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police line up as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police arrest a protester as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police arrest a protester as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A protester runs from the police, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, as protesters rally around the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A protester runs from the police, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, as protesters rally around the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the St. Louis Police Department shows former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. A television station reported that a ruling is expected Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Stockley's case, and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has put the National Guard on standby in case unrest breaks out. (St. Louis Police Department via AP, File)

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the St. Louis Police Department shows former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. A television station reported that a ruling is expected Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Stockley’s case, and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has put the National Guard on standby in case unrest breaks out. (St. Louis Police Department via AP, File)

This undated family photo supplied by Christina Wilson shows Anthony Lamar Smith holding his daughter Autumn Smith. Anthony Lamar Smith was killed in 2011 during a confrontation with police. A judge may be close to a ruling in the case against Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of Smith. Gov. Eric Greitens says he's has put the National Guard on standby in case unrest breaks out. (Family photo courtesy Christina Wilson via AP)

This undated family photo supplied by Christina Wilson shows Anthony Lamar Smith holding his daughter Autumn Smith. Anthony Lamar Smith was killed in 2011 during a confrontation with police. A judge may be close to a ruling in the case against Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of Smith. Gov. Eric Greitens says he’s has put the National Guard on standby in case unrest breaks out. (Family photo courtesy Christina Wilson via AP)

A broken window is seen at the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A broken window is seen at the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters hold up signs as restaurant patrons look out the window, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters hold up signs as restaurant patrons look out the window, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march down, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in downtown St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march down, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in downtown St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police guard on-ramps to Interstate 64 as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Police guard on-ramps to Interstate 64 as protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters gather, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

In this undated photo released by 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson is seen. Wilson acquitted Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011.   (22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri via AP)

In this undated photo released by 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson is seen. Wilson acquitted Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri via AP)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, right, and Christina Wilson, the fiancée of Anthony Lamar Smith, deliver a statement in anticipation of a verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in St. Louis. Stockley is accused in the 2011 killing of Lamar Smith following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, right, and Christina Wilson, the fiancée of Anthony Lamar Smith, deliver a statement in anticipation of a verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in St. Louis. Stockley is accused in the 2011 killing of Lamar Smith following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted on Friday, in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted in the 2011 killing of a black man following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protesters march through West County Mall in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Des Peres, Mo. Stockley was acquitted in the 2011 killing of a black man following a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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