ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has commented on what turned into a violent evening of protesting in University City Saturday night.
Greitens posted the following Facebook post early Sunday morning:
“Saturday night, some criminals decided to pick up rocks and break windows. They thought they’d get away with it. They were wrong. Our officers caught ‘em, cuffed ‘em, and threw ‘em in jail.
In the past, our leaders let people break windows, loot, start fires. They let them do it. Not this time. Tonight, the police arrested the vandals. At this moment, they’re all sitting in a jail cell. They’re gonna wake up and face felony charges.
These aren’t protestors, these are criminals.
Criminals, listen up: you break a window, you’re going to be behind bars. It’s that simple.”
According to a police report, more than 450 people took to the streets of Delmar at Kingsland and peacefully marched down to Skinker as part of their demonstration in reaction to the Jason Stockley verdict.
This group turned around and marched back to their starting point, but then a smaller group of people began to gather and ignored police orders to disperse.
Growing to around 150 marchers, the group then began to throw rocks and water bottles at officers who were not in riot gear because they were working traffic.
As many as 23 businesses along Delmar were vandalized during protests Saturday night, along with nearly a half dozen police vehicles.
St. Louis Police reported that two people were arrested and St. Louis County Police arrested seven.
In the days leading up to Judge Timothy Wilson’s announcement in the Stockley murder trial, Greitens met with local clergy members to ease tensions.
The Republican governor stressed that any protest veering into violence will not be tolerated.
“For folks who want to light a candle and walk in a vigil, they should hear that we are here to protect them,” Greitens says. “But for those who want to light a Molotov Cocktail and burn down a home, they should know that we are going to arrest them.”