Protests in St. Louis, Missouri, turned violent late on Friday, Sept. 15, after a white police officer was acquitted of shooting a black man dead in 2011.
Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators, who threw rocks and bottles at police. Around 1,000 protesters surrounded the home of the city’s mayor, breaking at least two windows and throwing red paint at her home, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Nine city officers and a state trooper were injured at the rally, that was initially peaceful, and 23 people were arrested, according to acting Police Commissioner Lawrence O’Toole.
O’Toole appeared in a video with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson in the early hours of Saturday morning. One officer suffered a dislocated shoulder and another had a possible broken jaw, O’Toole said.
Protesters broke windows at the St. Louis library and at two restaurants. Journalists said they were also targeted, Fox News reports. A KTVI reporter said he had water bottles thrown at him while a freelance Associated Press videographer said that a protester threw his camera to the ground and damaged it.
One officer sustained a serious injury while two were injured by bricks, authorities said.
“Tear gas was deployed because agitators became violent toward officers and destroyed property at Kingshighway & Waterman” St. Louis Police Department said in a tweet.
“Officers did deploy pepper balls as a less-than-lethal option after agitators continued to assault officers with objects and destroy property,” O’Toole said.
“Reports of bricks thrown at police. That’s not protest. That’s a crime,” tweeted Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.
The protests were sparked after a white St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley was found not guilty of shooting dead a black suspect, Anthony Lamar Smith in a car chase that happened in 2011. Smith was suspected of dealing drugs.
Shortly after the verdict on Friday, Sept. 15, hundreds of protesters marched in the streets, some held “Black Lives Matter” signs while others chanted: “No justice, no peace! Hey hey! Ho ho! These killer cops have got to go!”
The verdict rings memories of the shooting of a black suspect in nearby Ferguson three years ago. White officer Darren Wilson shot dead the black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. It provoked protests and a nationwide debate after a grand jury cleared the officer.