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Couple points guns at protesters marching to St. Louis mayor's home to demand resignation

Rachel Rice, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in News & Features

One of the protesters outside Krewson's home, Rodney Brown, said he felt "extremely fearful because we should be able to write to our public officials, and the fact that she doesn't feel she has to be accountable or protect us ... it's a very violent gesture."

Congressional candidate Cori Bush told protesters through a megaphone on Sunday, "When you are an activist and you speak up against police brutality, there are days you are stalked, followed, harassed ... the mayor just said it's OK."

Earlier in the day, police set up metal barricades around the mayor's home. Protesters later pushed through the barricades to gather on the mayor's front porch and yard. The word "RESIGN" was painted in large letters on her street.

On June 17, at Krewson's request, a city panel voted to cut $860,000 in spending on the workhouse to hire mental health and social workers to aid police. The move was in addition to plans to cut the $16 million jail budget nearly in half as inmate counts decline.

The mayor and her public safety team insist the jail is needed. The city has spent more than $5 million since 2017 on upgrades to the jail, which has a capacity of 436 and held 92 inmates on Friday.

In other developments, 16 people who were arrested during protests Saturday outside of the Florissant Police Department were released by 6 p.m. Sunday, according to St. Louis Jail and Legal Support.

Charges included disturbing the peace, unlawful assembly and failure to disperse. During the standoff on north Lindbergh Boulevard, protesters threw frozen water bottles, glass bottles, batteries and rocks, while officers used pepper spray and fired one bean bag round after a person assaulted an officer, according to a police statement.

 

Demonstrators have been gathering outside the department since a video became public June 2 showing a Florissant detective driving an unmarked SUV into a Black suspect. That detective, Joshua L. Smith, 31, has been charged with first-degree assault, fourth-degree assault and armed criminal action.

Protesters want to see the two officers who were with Smith in the SUV fired and charged. Police have said the officers will not be fired and a special prosecutor investigating the incident declined to press charges.

(Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.)

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