ST. LOUIS — A white former police officer who fatally shot a 24-year-old black man here after a high-speed chase in 2011 was acquitted of first-degree murder Friday, rekindling protests in a region that has been at the center of the country’s debate over police treatment of African-Americans.
For days, the verdict in the case against the former St. Louis officer, Jason Stockley, in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith had been tensely awaited.
By Friday evening, the St. Louis police said that more than a dozen people had been arrested and four officers reported minor injuries. Some protesters pelted a police bus with rocks, the police said, and at least four U.S. flags were set on fire.
Late Friday, about 1,000 protesters marched through the streets to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson, where at least one window was shattered when something was thrown at it. Within minutes, the police ordered protesters to disperse, and then a long line of riot officers arrived and marched toward the crowd, pushing protesters away. The police said they used tear gas after protesters destroyed property, and at least two officers were injured — one seriously — when agitators threw bricks. Other damage in the Central West End of the city included shattered windows at a public library and a popular tavern nearby.
Concerns that the outcome of the trial might set off violent protests and memories of unrest over a different police shooting in Ferguson, only a few miles away, were evident: barricades were erected near courthouses, police officers were assigned longer shifts, and Gov. Eric Greitens placed the Missouri National…
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