More Violence Marks Protests in St. Louis Over Ex-Officer's Acquittal

Image: Demonstrators confront police on Sept. 16.
Demonstrators confront police in St. Louis on Saturday.Scott Olson / Getty Images

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/ Source: Associated Press
By Tim Stelloh

A third day of protests in Missouri over the acquittal of a former police officer charged with murder ended in chaos and dozens of arrests Sunday, authorities said.

St. Louis police said "groups of criminals" were "creating chaos" downtown. In a statement on Twitter, police said there were reports of significant property damage.

An unidentified chemical was thrown on police, another statement said, and a bicycle officer was transported to a hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.

Officials confirmed that more than 80 people were arrested Sunday. Mayor Lyda Krewson highlighted that the "vast majority of protesters were nonviolent" and blamed "agitators" for the unrest.

"Destruction cannot be tolerated," she added.

More protests were planned for Monday, with demonstrators planning to gather at 7 a.m. local time near Union Station downtown.

The protests erupted Friday after St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson acquitted the former officer, Jason Stockley, who was charged in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24.

Prosecutors said Stockley, who is white, shot Smith five times and intended to kill Smith, who is black, after a high-speed pursuit. Authorities also alleged that he planted a gun on Smith.

Stockley said he felt he was in imminent danger when he opened fire. Wilson said there was no evidence that he planted the gun.

A former alderman, Antonio French, criticized authorities' response to the protests, saying they were "repeating the mistakes of their predecessors."

"They're treating this like a disaster, doing briefings with [law enforcement officers] and delivering updates with stats and numbers about arrests made," French wrote on Twitter. "The only thing they offer the community is they be 'allowed' to 1st amendment rights, as if that's a concession."

Erin Dean contributed.