On Friday, after the verdict that a white former police officer is not guilty of the crime with which he had been charged St. Louis was prepared for demonstrations. The white officer was charged with murder. He was charged with shooting a black driver last year after a chase. The officer had accused of planting a gun on the black driver by prosecutors.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer Jason Stockley was charged with murder by prosecutors. Prosecutors charged him with murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011.
In a statement, Greitens said, “We know this verdict causes pain for many people.” The statement reads, “We have been in touch with city and county officials, and the state of Missouri will continue to assist them. I’m committed to protecting everyone’s constitutional right to protest peacefully, while also protecting people’s lives, homes, and communities. For anyone who protests, please do so peacefully.”
According to Greitens, putting the National Guard on standby mode was “a necessary precaution.” In a joint message with Smith’s fiancee Christina Wilson, Greitens urged people to protest peacefully.
In a news briefing, Wilson said, “If you feel like you want to speak out, speak how you feel.” Wilson added, “And whatever comes to you, just do it in a peaceful way.”
After Wilson, Greitens said that he knew that people are in pain after the verdict and asked people to not “turn that pain into violence.” Greitens said, “One life has been lost in this case, and we don’t need more bloodshed.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson wrote, “I am sobered by this outcome. Frustration, anger, hurt, pain, hope and love all intermingle.” Krewson wrote, “I will continue my work to create a more equitable community.”
The St. Louis police chief Lawrence M. O’Toole said on Friday morning, the police department knows “emotions are running high,” and asked people to protest peacefully.