Several hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters have taken St. Louis’ streets to voice their anger after a Missouri judge acquitted a white former St. Louis police in the 2011 killing of an African-American man.
Some protesters clashed with police and a few scuffles broke out on Friday in the state of Missouri where racially charged clashes in the nearby city of Ferguson created the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014.
Police said some demonstrators hurled rocks and water bottles, while witnesses and video footage showed police used pepper spray on at protesters about a block from the courthouse.
A court in Missouri freed Jason Stockley, 36, who was charged with first-degree murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith, 24. He was arrested in May 2016.
The former policeman was accused of planting a gun in Smith’s car but claimed in his testimony that he did this in self-defense.
More than 500 protesters held a demonstration following the verdict in downtown St. Louis, chanting, “No justice, no peace” and “Shut it down.” Some held “Black Lives Matter” signs.
“I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m mad,” said the Reverend Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis. “We haven’t made any progress since Ferguson, that’s clear. Cops can still kill us with impunity.”
The deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police over the past years have sparked nationwide protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter movement.
On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice will not bring civil rights charges against six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, the young African-American man whose killing sparked mass protests in 2015.
The department said that “the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that the officers who arrested Gray “willfully violated” his civil rights.