Third Night of Violent Protests: St. Louis County Police Officers Get Sprayed with Unknown Chemical
Several St. Louis County police officers had to be decontaminated by St. Louis Fire Dept. emergency responders on Sunday night after they were sprayed with an unknown chemical substance.
St. Louis County police confiscated some bottles of "unknown chemicals" that were used against the police. One of the bottles was marked apple cider, which experienced agitators apparently use to neutralize the effects of tear gas.
Police also confiscated the extensive weapons cache in the tweet below from only one suspect:
There was one rather conspicuous Anonymous fan in the crowd on Sunday night:
For the third night in a row, a peaceful protest turned violent at nightfall, after the protest was officially over, resulting in property damage and over 80 arrests by the end of the night.
Activists took to the streets this weekend to protest the controversial acquittal of white former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who was facing first-degree murder charges for killing a black heroin dealer named Anthony Smith in 2011.
Via Fox 2:
On Friday, a judge ruled Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, was “not guilty” of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a motorist following a high-speed chase in 2011. Stockley could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted.
Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase. Stockley says he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase began, and that he felt he was in imminent danger when he opened fire.
Via the St. Louis Post Dispatch, about 1,000 protesters gathered outside the St. Louis Police Department in Downtown West Sunday and marched into Midtown on Sunday. St. Louis police arrested at least seven people after an unruly mob broke windows, tipped over planters, and damaged property.
The protests started peacefully but by 8 p.m., a small group had marched downtown, breaking several windows in the Marriott hotel on Washington Avenue and at other nearby businesses, including at Olive and 10th streets. A sushi restaurant, a nail salon and an optician's shop were among those hit. Concrete planters were knocked over and trash cans tossed into the street.
Buses carrying police in full riot gear and shields arrived near the downtown location where police said significant property damage was reported following an hours-long nonviolent protest Sunday afternoon and evening. After protest organizers asked people to disband, some remained behind, as they had the previous two nights.
State Rep. Bruce Franks, who has participated in the protests, said those who are violent and vandalizing “are not protesters,” saying they are part of a group separate from those marching as part of organized demonstrations.
One bike officer was injured with a non-non-life-threatening leg injury.
Reporters on the ground said that they didn't see any tear gas deployed on Sunday night, but police did use rubber bullets.
At one point during the melee, an unmarked police car backed up at a high rate of speed through the protesters:
The St. Louis Police Department put out the following statement to explain what happened:
Seven people were reported arrested while Sunday night's mayhem was still unfolding.
Two more were arrested in the area after their car crashed into an innocent motorist. It was not immediately clear if the these suspects were part of Sunday's riot.
The St. Louis Police Department later tweeted that they were arresting numerous more agitators who refused to disperse, so the total number of arrests will likely be between ten and twenty.
At a late-night news conference the St. Louis Police Department announced that there were more than 80 arrests in all.
"I'm proud to tell you the city of St. Louis is safe and the police owned the night," said acting police chief Lawrence O'Toole. "Tonight we made more than 80 arrests," he said. "We confiscated at least five weapons."
The chief also said that "those who set out to do damage were arrested & should be prosecuted. This is our city & we will protect it."
O'Toole said an unspecified number of officers were injured on Sunday night. "Some criminals assaulted law enforcement officers and threw chemicals and rocks at them. All of the officer's injuries were minor or moderate. All will be returning to duty soon."