St. Louis Police: 80 people arrested in third night of protests

ST. LOUIS — Police arrested more than 80 people and confiscated at least five weapons after a night of unrest in downtown St. Louis.

It comes after a day of peaceful protests in downtown St. Louis following the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley in the December 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Smith led officers on a police chase over a suspected drug deal.

In court, prosecutors had argued Stockley intended to kill Smith, citing audio from the internal police vehicle camera during the car chase in which he told his partner, “We’re killing this motherf***er.”  They also said a revolver found in Smith’s car had been planted by Stockley to justify the shooting.

The judge said people say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment and that Stockley couldn’t have planted the gun because it was too large for him to hide from the cameras at the scene.

Sunday evening, one group of protesters began causing property damage along Washington Avenue around 8:30 p.m. and officers quickly moved in in force. Windows of several businesses were broken. Trash cans and flower pots were damaged and overturned and furniture was thrown in the street.

Police declared a gathering near the intersection of Tucker and Washington to be an unlawful assembly and began arresting anyone who did not disperse.

Authorities said several officers were assaulted throughout the night, some having unknown chemicals thrown on them. Those officers suffered minor to moderate injuries and are expected to be back in service soon.

At a press conference in the early hours of Monday morning, acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said police “own the night” after announcing the dozens of arrests.

“We’re in control. This is our city and we’re going to protect it,” he added.

Several downtown streets were closed at one time during the night.

St. Louis County Police said some of their officers were treated by firefighters after unknown chemicals were thrown on them.