St. Louis police use a technique called "kettling," in which exits are blocked in and people are arrested en masse, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, at the corner of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard. (Photo via stltoday.com)
The mayor of Saint Louis in Missouri has denounced “international racism” in the US as police have come under criticism for their response to the recent protests in the city over the weekend.
The demonstrations were held in the city from Friday to Sunday over the acquittal of a white policeman who had fatally shot a black man in 2011.
On Sunday night, more than 80 people were arrested after the protests turned violent following a larger, peaceful demonstration earlier in the day. Police in riot gear tackled some protesters and used pepper spray before starting the mass arrests.
“What we are seeing and feeling is not only about this case,” Mayor Lyda Krewson told reporters on Tuesday.
“What we have is a legacy of policies that have disproportionately impacted people along racial and economic lines,” Krewson said. “This is institutional racism.”
Lyda Krewson speaks with reporters after winning the Democratic mayoral primary on March 7, 2017. (Photo via St. Louis Public Radio)
The mayor said she was ready to find ways to move the city forward after she had listened to and read the reaction of the city’s residents to the controversial verdict.
“We, here in St. Louis, are once again ground zero for the frustration and anger at our shared legacy of these disproportional outcomes,” she said. “The only option is to move forward.”
She went on to say it was not acceptable for police to chant “Whose streets? Our streets!” on Sunday as they were arresting protesters.
Krewson also said it was “inflammatory” for interim police Chief Lawrence O’Toole to say that “police owned” Sunday night.
On Thursday, Judge Timothy Wilson cleared Jason Stockley, 36, who was charged with first-degree murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith, 24.
Hundreds of protesters stand outside of the St. Louis city jail, September 18, 2017. (Photo by AP)
The officer quit the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 2013 and was arrested in May 2016. Stockley was accused of planting a gun in Smith's car but claimed in his testimony that he did this in self-defense.
The violent protests in the city evoked memories of the riots following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager, by a white officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.
At least 1,093 people were killed by police in the US last year, according to The Guardian newspaper's The Counted database.

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