11 Scenes From St. Louis That Prove Nothing Has Changed Since Ferguson

(ANTIMEDIA) — Intense protests broke out in downtown St. Louis Friday after a former police officer was acquitted in the 2011 death of unarmed 24-year-old Lamar Smith, who the officer shot five times after a car chase. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson found Jason Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, which caused thousands of people to flood the streets of St. Louis to protest the verdict.

The chaotic scene played out not far from Ferguson, Missouri, where a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, another unarmed black man, in 2014. After months of unrest, the officer, Darren Wilson, was not indicted, a decision that sparked additional nationwide protests. Wilson eventually resigned. Several other cops have also been acquitted in recent police shooting trials in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Police ordered the crowd to disperse and deployed tear gas on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Photo by Christian Gooden.

As night came on Friday, St. Louis Police warned that protests were “no longer considered peaceful” and instructed local residents to avoid the area. As of 2:26 a.m. local time, 32 people have been arrested and ten officers have been injured. Some protesters were seen carrying rifles on the streets — which is legal in the state of Missouri — but no reports have been made of weapons being discharged.

Protesters marched all night chanting, “No justice, no peace,” and “If you kill our kids, we’ll kill your economy.” For weeks, many have feared the potential civil unrest that might follow a not guilty verdict in the death of Lamar Smith. Those concerned prompted several businesses in downtown St. Louis to close early.

Police declared the protest an “unlawful assembly” at 10:08 p.m. local time, tweeting, “Those refusing to leave are subject to arrest.”

Police line up as protesters gather on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis, after a judge found a white former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011. JEFF ROBERSON / AP

“I’m proud of these people protesting,” Damone Smith, a 52-year-old electrician, told the Post-Dispatch. “If you look like me, then you feel like there is no other way to express yourself in this kind of verdict. Time and time again, African-American men are killed by police, and nobody is held accountable.”

Here are 11 chaotic scenes from the St. Louis protests that prove nothing has changed since Ferguson, not least the militarized police presence that became a national issue after the 2014 protests:

You can read the verdict in the court document by clicking here.

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