St. Louis Activists Seek Ouster of Mayor, Police Chief

Protesters stage a town hall meeting after Mayor Lyda Krewson cancels her own public meetings. The activists are calling for more police reform after a judge acquitted a white officer in the fatal shooting of a black drug suspect.

St. Louis activists protesting the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley have called for the resignation of Mayor Lyda Krewson and the firing of acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Stockley, who is white, was charged with murdering black drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith after a high-speed pursuit in 2011. “We’re beyond disappointed” that the mayor chose to cancel opportunities for people’s voices to be heard, said activist Kayla Reed, alluding to Krewson’s calling off town-hall meetings she had scheduled. That’s why organizations such as St. Louis Action Council, ArchCity Defenders and Organization for Black Struggle came together to hold the People’s Town Hall on Thursday night.

Organizers flashed on a screen a list of 12 demands they said city leaders must meet if they are serious about making fundamental changes that demonstrate that black lives indeed matter. In addition to the departures of Krewson and O’Toole, the activists want to remove from the bench Judge Timothy Wilson, who acquitted Stockley. Wilson is retiring in December. The group said it would campaign against Proposition P, an initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot that would increase the wages of city police officers. It is a proposal Krewson supports. “But there is really only one demand,” Reed said. “Stop killing us.” Most of the town hall meeting consisted of a question and answer session with city leaders, including state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr.; and Fifth Ward Precinct Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge. Franks and Aldridge were protesters in Ferguson after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown. Most questions centered on police reform.