Metro-East News

It’s been a month of St. Louis protests, and slowly, change is happening

A protester faces off with police during early days of the St. Louis protests about former police officer Jason Stockley’s not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
A protester faces off with police during early days of the St. Louis protests about former police officer Jason Stockley’s not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. kjohnson@bnd.com

Daily protests have continued in St. Louis, even a full month after former police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of first degree murder charges in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

And slowly, change is happening in the city. St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards was named the new director of public safety, something protesters have been demanding, according to KMOV.

For the past 30 days, protesters have taken to the streets in St. Louis, blocking traffic and commerce and staking out the county jail in support for those arrested. Since Stockley’s not-guilty verdict came down Sept. 15, the city has been full of emotion and hurt, as people express what they want to see changed in the city.

Pigeon O’Brien, of Brentwood, told the BND during the early days of the protests that she was “tired of the police killing black St. Louis.”

The protests have been mostly peaceful, although hundreds have been arrested.

Shortly after Stockley’s verdict came down, there were several acts of vandalism in the Loop, Central West End and downtown. During vandalism at the Loop on Sept. 17, more than 120 protesters were arrested, and on Oct. 3, after a group of demonstrators shut down I-64, more than 140 were taken into police custody.

READ MORE: Timeline: Events in the Jason Stockley-Anthony Lamar Smith case

Police have used force, tear gas and pepper spray to control protesters, and many say their actions have been too harsh. Protesters are calling for an investigation into the St. Louis police department’s use of force during arrests.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a lawsuit in September after some mass arrests, saying the police violated protester’s civil rights.

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