Businesses, schools close in downtown St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _Several businesses and schools in or near downtown St. Louis closed early after a judge’s verdict acquitting a white police officer in the death of black motorist was announced.

Wells Fargo Advisors, brokerage and investment firm Stifel and Nestle Purina PetCare all sent thousands of employees home Friday after a judge acquitted former officer Jason Stockley in the death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.

Activists were gathering downtown to protest the verdict and officials were concerned about the potential for unrest.

Several schools also closed early and postponed events scheduled for Friday.

An Alzheimer’s Walk scheduled for Saturday in downtown St. Louis was postponed.