On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh checked in with St. Louis Public Radio Executive Editor Shula Neuman and Reporter Ryan Delaney on protests around St. Louis in response to Friday’s not guilty verdict of Jason Stockley in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Later in the hour, he spoke with two representatives of the Ethical Society of Police, which strongly opposed the verdict.
Delaney, who reported at Webster Groves High School and Kirkwood High School this morning, said some 75-100 students at each school walked out in protest of the verdict. He also saw reports that a similar walk-out occurred at University City High School.
Delaney was also present at protests last night in downtown St. Louis, which later in the night turned destructive.
Neuman said that protests over the weekend were mixed demographically, with both white people and people of color participating. "It is not a monolithic effort," she said.
A Monday morning protest in downtown in St. Louis was entirely peaceful, Neuman said.
After the discussion with Neuman and Delaney, two representatives of The Ethical Society of Police, which represents officers of color, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss their reaction to the verdict.
Redditt Hudson, a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer and former member of the ESOP as well as attorney Anthony Gray, General Counsel to ESOP, joined the discussion. Hudson is also the co-founder of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Reform and Accountability.
"What you see is a reflection of the growing awareness, especially in the younger generation, that race and racism impacts our criminal justice system," Hudson said of the demographic makeup of the protests. "It obviously imapcts outcomes as to officers that shoot citizens and it is encouraging to me to see that we've seen this coming-together across racial and demographic lines, all out for justice."
Ahead of the verdict, the ESOP called for the judge to find Stockley guilty in a YouTube video. Hudson said that the video served its purpose of letting the general population know that officers "are disgusted with what they saw Jason Stockley do."
"The same heroes that we give credit to every day for the work that they do, in their number are those that know Stockley should have been convicted, they're disgusted by the verdict and they want to see change in how police are held accountable or not when they violate civil rights, human rights of people they are sworn to serve and protect," Hudson said.
Gray said that he did not think the ESOP video was inflammatory.
"They articulated how they thought accountability should be shown using words some may think were strong," Gray said. "I think on the issue of being held accountable for their behavior should be stated in a strong and firm way."
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.