Police made more than 80 arrests in downtown St. Louis Sunday night after violence erupted following hours of peaceful protesting. It was the third night of violence after the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, charged with murdering a black drug suspect, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “For the third day in a row, the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson said. “This is unacceptable. Destruction cannot be tolerated” Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said “criminals” set out to break and destroy property and, as a result, landed in jail. “I’m proud to tell you the city of St. Louis is safe and the police owned tonight,” O’Toole said.
Shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, a small group of protesters threw chunks of concrete at police and broke windows at numerous businesses in the Delmar Loop area of University City, which adjoins St. Louis. A chair was thrown through the window of a Starbucks. One protester was seen hitting a police SUV with a hammer. As the chaos escalated, scores of police officers in riot gear pushed forward against demonstrators, about two hours after daytime protest organizers had congratulated their followers on keeping their demonstrations peaceful. By 11:30, about 200 police officers had pushed most of the protesters out of the area and the violence and vandalism appeared to be dissipating. The sidewalks along the vibrant area of restaurants and shops were strewn with glass from broken windows. “We have some work to do here.” Cori Bush, a social worker and activist who is running for Congress, helped lead the marchers early Saturday evening. “The message is simple: stop killing us,” she said. “Black folks say, stop killing us.”