Updated at 9:25 p.m. with details from protest — Activists put forth an updated list of demands Thursday, including that new St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson resign. But Thomas Harvey, the head of ArchCity Defenders, told St. Louis Public Radio that the main thing protesters want is simple: “Stop killing us.”
Later in the evening, a group of protesters returned to Washington Avenue, close to where mass arrests were made on Sept. 17, sparking three lawsuits against the city. After protesters surrounded a police car for a few minutes, yelling at the officers inside, a line of police in riot gear showed up. The group eventually moved on, and the protest ended after about two hours, with no arrests.
The list of demands, headlined as “The People’s Demands,” were presented at a town-hall meeting at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis. Treasurer Tishaura Jones; state Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis; 15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Ellyia-Green; and 5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge took questions from the audience.
The demands follow nearly two weeks of demonstrations in the wake of the Sept. 15 acquittal of former St. Louis officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Smith was black, Stockley is white.
Franks said the protests are meant to “disrupt … affect the economy.” And Jones, who narrowly lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Krewson in March, addressed why she’s rarely out with the large groups of protesters.
“Just because you don’t see me in the streets, doesn’t mean I’m not doing the work,” she said. “Everybody has a role to play in this movement.”
The full list of demands, some of which already have been relayed, are:
- Auditing the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,
- The resignation of Interim Police Chief Larry O’Toole,
- Removing of Judge Timothy Wilson, who acquitted Stockley,
- Creating stricter use-of-force policies,
- Engaging the public in the process to find a new police chief,
- Dropping charges against protesters,
- Releasing protesters who are arrested on their own recognizance,
- Abolishing cash bail in St. Louis,
- Closing the Medium Security Institute, known as the Workhouse,
- Removing the Missouri Highway Patrol from temporary duty on St. Louis’ roads,
- The resignation of Krewson
- The firing of Jeff Roorda, the business manager and de facto spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association
The handout also said activists don’t support Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax increase to help increase officers’ salaries that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.