Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) The Metropolitan Police Department for the midwestern US city of St. Louis said nine of its officers were injured during protests over the acquittal of a white police officer in the 2011 shooting of a black suspect.
Protests even occurred Friday night outside the home of St. Louis’ mayor, Democrat Lyda Krewson, where demonstrators used rocks to break a window and threw red paint at the house before being dispersed by police, Efe news reported.
The acting commissioner of police of the St. Louis Police Department, Lawrence O’Toole, said in a statement to the media late Friday night that his officers had responded to incidents in numerous locations in the city.
“After dark, many agitators began to destroy property and assault police officers. As of right now, a total of nine St. Louis officers were injured. We also received a report that one Missouri state highway patrol trooper was also injured,” he said.
Besides the mayor’s home, other buildings in St. Louis’ west end, including a restaurant and a library, were damaged, he added.
“Orders to disperse were given numerous times. Tear gas was deployed after officers were assaulted with bricks and bottles,” O’Toole said, adding that 23 arrests were made before 6 pm Friday and that officers also had used pepper balls as a less lethal option against violent demonstrators.
The demonstrators were protesting a Missouri judge’s decision Friday to acquit 36-year-old Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, of first-degree murder.
Stockley had been accused in the death of 24-year-old African-American Anthony Lamar Smith, a case that has reignited racial tensions in a city that has seen other cases of police violence.
Riots in 2014 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, where a white police officer killed an 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, touched off a wave of nationwide racial disturbances.