Police have declared an unlawful assembly and deployed tear gas, after protesters moved from the streets of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, to the home and neighborhood of the mayor.
After 10:10pm local time Friday, St. Louis police wearing gas masks lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in riot gear, as a helicopter flew over declaring the assembly unlawful. In response, protesters raised their voices in chants of "Hands up, don't shoot."
Police then deployed several tear gas devices. Protesters kicked the devices back toward police, as officers marched ahead to clear the street, continuing to fire off tear gas.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) posted on Facebook late Friday evening, "I will protect people's constitutional right to peacefully protest, but violence will not be tolerated. We will protect people's lives, homes, and communities."
At issue in Friday's protests is a jury's verdict that came down that morning, acquitting a white officer of murder of a black man.
Police had said Friday afternoon that the protest was “largely peaceful,” but mace was deployed after rocks and water bottles were thrown, threatening the legality of the gathering.
North and Southbound areas of Kingshighway were closed, including south of Interstate-40, causing traffic delays, according to the St. Louis Police Department. Other street intersections were also blocked by sit-ins.
Thirteen people have been arrested during Friday’s protest, the police said. In the late afternoon, some groups of marchers were heard chanting “we shut s*** down” and “these killer cops have got to go.”
On Friday morning, St. Louis police arrested an unnamed individual for damaging a police car. The man was charged with Destruction of Property, Failure to Obey and Interfering. Other charges on arrested protesters range from Assault in the Second-Degree on a law enforcement officer, Failure to Disperse, Interfering and Peace Disturbance, Leah K. Freeman of the police department's Public Information Division told RT America.
Four officers have been injured, and Interim Police Chief Lawrence M. O’Toole confirmed that one was sent to the hospital, AP reported. Three others refused medical attention.
Earlier at a press conference Friday, O’Toole stated that one officer was knocked off of his bike and another was pinned down on his bike by protesters. Police deployed mace in the direction of the protesters after a water bottle struck an officer.
Some protesters also targeted members of the media.
An unnamed freelance videographer working for the Associated Press said a protester came up to him, took his camera, and threw it on the ground. The view finder on the camera broke following the event. The videographer also says he was surrounded by six men who told him to put his camera away or he would be beaten, the AP reported.
Scariest moment in my career. Protesters upset about not guilty verdict for an officer accused of killing a suspect, turn on me and media. pic.twitter.com/iZyvg3gX0p
KTVI’s Dan Gray was caught up in an incident while reporting in St. Louis. One protester approached Gray and started yelling in his face. The man continued to yell at Gray as he walked away from the situation. During the end of the predicament when the protester throws himself in front of the reporter, a crowd of people appear to come to Gray’s rescue.
"I understand their frustration I understand their anger," Gray said. "Perhaps they needed someone to vent it to," according to KPLR.
Fox News Channel reporter Mike Tobin had water poured over his head during an on-air interview with a protester.
•Dumpster Fire• N. Euclid & Westminster Place. #STLCity
Two protesters seen with rifles in hand were exercising their state-sanctioned open carry rights, Kevin Killeen of KMOX reported. One of the men held his gun while sporting a kevlar vest as he talked to police during the demonstrations, according to Jesse Bogan of the St. Louis Dispatch.
A local pizza shop took precautions due to the protests and boarded up its windows.
Police also criticized "agitators" for "distract[ing] from the mission of peaceful [sic] protesters" by jumping on police cars and kicking in their windows.
In case you're wondering, officer Jason Stockley shot heroin dealer Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011 after he rammed police with his vehicle and took them on a long car chase. Police claim he had a gun, but prosecutors claimed it was planted.
Smith's family was paid $900,000 in a settlement with the city, but the case was reopened in May 2016 due to new evidence.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson said in his ruling: "This Court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense."