ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – As a large group marched through the Delmar Loop in St. Louis protesting the Jason Stockley verdict, Mayor Lyda Krewson and Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole held a news conference updating the media on protest events.
Protesters had marched through the West County Center in Des Peres, disrupting shoppers earlier Saturday. Many retailers inside the mall closed their doors.
“I’m disappointed for those of you who have tickets, however, the issues being protested are real impediments to the success of our city,” Krewson said.
Both Krewson and O’Toole said the vast majority of demonstrators Friday were peaceful, with a few groups of agitators in the night.
“The unruly crowd became a mob,” O’Toole said. “This mob was intent on destroying or damaging property, assaulting police officers, and setting fires.”
Eleven officers were injured, and 32 were arrested after the night of protests. All police officers who required medical attention have been released, according to O’Toole.
In response to reports of police being too aggressive, the interim chief said, “escalation was by the protesters — when bottles and rocks are thrown at officers, we have to put on our protective equipment, and thats what we did.”
Krewson encouraged residents to go about their daily lives, mentioning the Balloon Race in Forest Park, the public libraries that are open, and small businesses that would like patrons.
“Of course go to work, of course go out to eat; we shouldn’t be so fearful here,” she said.
In response to her house being vandalized, Krewson admitted it is “irritating,” but, “this story is not about whether I got my windows broken or not. This is about coming together to have a better St. Louis for all of us.”
Krewson said as far as she knows, the Billy Joel concert scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21, is still on.
Protesters have demonstrations planned throughout the weekend.