Hundreds of protesters in St. Louis have gathered in the streets to demonstrate against police and a ruling that said officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree manslaughter of a black suspect.
Watch a live stream of the protests in the video at the top of the page.
Many of the protests remained peaceful to begin, police said, but that changed when a group of “agitators” started to throw rocks at buses attempting to leave an area being blocked by protesters. When police moved in to try and disperse them, some of the protesters threw water bottles at officers and appeared to become combative.
As a result, authorities closed numerous streets throughout the downtown area and encouraged motorists to find alternate routes.
Other photos and videos posted to social media show large groups of people gathered at St. Louis City Hall shouting things such as: “You kill our kids, we’ll kill your economy.”
In another area of the downtown , demonstrators confronted police officers and some got into scuffles when they failed to disperse.
The widespread protests are taking place because Judge Timothy Wilson ruled on Friday that Stockley was not guilty of committing manslaughter in the 2011 death of Smith.
Stockley and a partner said they saw Smith take part in what they said was a drug deal in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on December 20, 2011. As the officers approached Smith, he fled in his vehicle, nearly clipping Stockley and the other officer, photos from surveillance cameras show. Stockley fired at least one shot at Smith as he led them on a high-speed pursuit.
A police dashcam video shows Stockley saying he’s “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it” while in pursuit of Smith.
Watch a video from the police dashcam video below:
Smith’s vehicle eventually slowed, and the officers decided to crash into his vehicle with theirs. Immediately after, Stockley got out of his car and fired five shots at Smith, which killed him. Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun that was found on Smith afterward. Subsequent testing found Stockley’s DNA on the firearm but not Smiths.
An official from the F.B.I. testified in court that one shot struck Smith from just 6 inches away.