Protesters gather in Central West End, resume demonstrations in Maryland Plaza Pepper spray deployed as police, protesters face off
Posted September 15
St. Louis, MO — Crowds gathered in the Central West End Friday night to continue protesting the verdict in the Jason Stockley case.
At 7 p.m. protesters congregated at Maryland Plaza to organize and begin another march; in similar numbers demonstrations earlier in the day.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police made 13 arrests Friday during protests in downtown St. Louis.
12 of those arrests came on Tucker Boulevard in front of the old police headquarters, after protesters clashed with police. While demonstrations were largely peaceful, according to acting Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole, four officers were assaulted during the protests.
One received medical attention for an injured hand, the other three refused treatment.
Protesters first gathered at the steps of the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis Friday morning and marched throughout the city much of the day. The protests come after a judge found Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer not guilty of murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Around 11 a.m., one protester was taken into custody at Washington and 14th after damaging a police vehicle. He was charged with Destruction of Property and Failure to Obey.
The St. Louis Police Department tweeted Friday afternoon that officers on buses attempting to leave the area were blocked by demonstrators at Tucker and Spruce. The tweet also said rocks were being thrown at the buses.
Less than 10 minutes later, the police department tweeted that agitators were also throwing water bottles at officers. The demonstrators were then ordered to disperse. Police also said they deployed pepper spray at Tucker and Clark.
Just before 5:30 p.m., police announced on Twitter they were no longer considering protests to be peaceful and anyone refusing to disperse could be subject to arrest.
The police officers formed a line near Tucker & Clark began pushing protesters back and telling them to leave the area.
By 6 p.m., the crowd which had previously gathered on Tucker was fully dispersed.
Police are preparing for further protests into the evening and hope to continue peaceful interactions even after nightfall.
"We're committed to protecting First Amendment rights and equally committed to enforcing law and keeping citizens safe," O'Toole said.