Protesters go ‘Baltimore’ on police car.

Via St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty Friday of murdering a man while on duty.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson’s highly anticipated verdict found the white former St. Louis police officer not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black drug suspect, after a high-speed pursuit and crash.

Activists, with support from some of the city’s black clergy, had pledged disruptive protests ahead of Wilson’s verdict.

Wilson addressed such statements in his order: “A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism.”

Protesters began gathering immediately. They tried to get on Interstate 64, but were blocked by police. They marched to police headquarters and down Tucker Boulevard.

Police pepper-sprayed a few protesters in the early afternoon as they tried to block police from traveling on Tucker Boulevard between Clark Avenue and Spruce Street. More than 100 police, many with batons and riot shields, were there.

As the protests grew Friday morning, Wells Fargo, Stifel and Nestle Purina PetCare sent their thousands of employees home for the day.

Damone Smith, 52, an electrician headed to work, was among the motorists being rerouted from the protest area.

“I think the verdict is disgusting,” said Smith, who is black. “I’m proud of these people protesting. If you look like me, then you feel like there is no other way to express yourself in the face of this kind of verdict. Time and time again, African-American men are killed by police and nobody is held accountable.”

The judge explained his rationale for the verdict in a 30-page document filed about 8:30 a.m. Friday.

“No one promised a rose garden, and this surely is not one,” he wrote of the case.

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