Following last week's acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, protesters have taken to the streets multiple nights in a row.
Stockley, a white man, shot and killed 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011 after a pursuit related to an alleged drug deal. Though Stockley maintained that his actions were in self-defense, a recording of the incident included the officer saying he was "going to kill this motherfucker." Additionally, a weapon recovered from the scene was later found to not possess Smith's DNA, despite Stockley's claims that he found the weapon inside Smith's vehicle.
As protests of Stockley's acquittal continued Sunday night, reports from journalists and photographers on the ground claimed that police officers had chanted "Whose streets? Our streets!" while arresting protesters. The chant, as anyone who's ever participated in a protest knows, is routinely used by Black Lives Matter and related activists during anti-police brutality demonstrations as a display of unity:
Later, video was shared alleging to show officers doing exactly that:
During a news conference overnight Sunday, according to the Washington Post, Interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole repeatedly called arrested protesters "criminals" and called for them to be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law."
St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson, who decided Stockley's verdict after the former St. Louis officer waived his right to a jury trial, argued that the lack of DNA on the aforementioned weapon was not sufficient enough evidence to prove the weapon had been planted. Wilson also claimed that the gun itself would have been "too large" for Stockley to hide in his pants pocket.