Hundreds of protesters marched in a third consecutive day of demonstrations Sunday following the acquittal of a white former city police officer in the death of a black motorist. The protests turned violent later Sunday evening, witnesses reported, with police in protective gear making several arrests.
The series of protests began Friday after a judge cleared the one-time St. Louis Metropolitan police officer, Jason Stockley, of first-degree murder charges in the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, during a high-speed car chase.
Stockley shot Smith after Smith fled from Stockley and his partner, who were trying to arrest him for a suspected drug deal.
Judge Timothy Wilson ruled Stockley acted in self-defense. His decision prompted demonstrations that began on Friday and left 11 police officers injured. Authorities made 33 arrests.
Sunday's peaceful protests, which featured about 1,000 people marching from the St. Louis Police Department to the city's Midtown area, were followed by more violent outbursts late Sunday, witnesses reported.
Protesters said the crowd turned violent after a vehicle believed to be an unmarked police car backed quickly through part of the crowd. No one appeared to be hit or injured, but protesters were angry about it, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Police said protesters threw bottles at officers after the incident, which was captured on videotape from several angles by bystanders.
Later Sunday, protesters smashed store windows and concrete planters along city sidewalks; police made a handful of arrests and shot rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.
The police force tweeted Sunday night that protesters had caused "significant property damage" downtown. Just before 9 p.m. CT, police said they had given an order for the crowd to "disperse immediately," adding, "This is no longer a peaceful protest."
On Saturday night and early Sunday, St. Louis County police said they arrested nine people in suburban University City, home to Washington University.
Some stores reopened Sunday despite the damage, with artists trying to enhance the appearance of plywood covering broken windows.