Cops arrest 80 in third night of St. Louis unrest after cop's acquittal
Riot-geared cops rounded up a staggering 80 people during the third night of unrest in downtown St. Louis following outrage over a white police officerâs acquittal.
Violent outbursts marked the end of the peaceful demonstrations that rallied during daylight hours Sunday and police shouted down protesters with their own chants.
âWhose streets, our streets,â some cops bellowed.
In one video, protesters could be heard gagging on pepper spray.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Lawrence OâToole blamed âa group of criminalsâ for the chaotic evening during a press briefing early Monday.
The late night clashes left one bicycle cop injured and OâToole said his officers arrested at least 80 people, including a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter caught in the chaos.
âWe are closed in on all four sides now I have no idea where people are supposed to go. People freaking out,â tweeted Post-Dispatch journalist Mike Faulk.
The brunt of the chaos intensified after an unmarked police car startled protesters by driving down the street â" through the mass of people â" in reverse.
Video shared by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows flocks of people people darting out of the blue Impalaâs wild path. The g athering crowd had marched toward the site of a traffic stop around 7 p.m. and watched as police arrested two people, one suspected of assault and another of making terrorist threats.
Inside the car, police found three guns.
A third person was cuffed for hurling rocks at the arresting officers.
As for the officer in the unmarked cruiser, he blamed protesters for his dramatic escape. Police said road closures blocked his path forward and protesters were âmoving in a threatening mannerâ from behind. So he drove through the crowd, video shows.
The vehicle was not identified as part of the police fleet until later on Sunday and there were no reports of injuries.
As the night raged on, armored police told people to go home and confronted protesters who stuck around. Some sported black protective gear and waving red and black flags emblazoned with the Anonymous logo, according to police photos.
St. Louis Metropolitan and County police curated photos of confiscated spray bottles labeled with "apple cider" after officers complained of being doused with a mysterious chemical.
The rampaging vandals were blamed for yanking plants from their planters and smashing windows at a downtown eye show, employment agency and a sushi shop.
Cops said two more people were arrested late Sunday after a speeding car smashed into another vehicle. Inside of the vehicles, police found drugs, masks and an assault-style rifle.
The latest round of protest was similar to the unrest that unfolded in the Saturday and Friday nights that followed former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockleyâs not-guilty verdict. He was released Friday after being charged with murder in the 2011 killing of Anthony Smith.
Stockley shot Smith after he led Stockley and his partner on a high-speed chase after a suspected drug deal.
Stockley, 36, testified that he felt he was in danger because he saw Smith holding a revolver when Smith backed his car toward the officers and sped away.
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