ST. LOUIS – Despite the fact that 11 law enforcement officers were injured and many businesses damaged Friday night the mayor of St. Louis and the police chief said the vast majority of protestors have been peaceful.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said, “We understand the desire to disrupt but we will not understand the desire for destruction or for harming people we will protect all our residents.”
The mayor and Police Chief Larry O’Toole talked to reporters Saturday evening. The chief said they have no intelligence that any of the demonstrators causing violence are being brought in from outside the St. Louis area. He said agitators turned the peaceful protests into violence. Chief O’Toole said, “The unruly crowd became a mob this mob was intent on destroying or damaging property assaulting police officers and setting fires.”
Firefighters responded to 18 fires, 2 police vehicles were damaged as were nine businesses, a library, and numerous vehicles. Both the chief and mayor encouraged people to go about their normal lives, go out to dinner even though several concerts have been canceled because of safety issues.
Mayor Krewson said, “We shouldn’t be so fearful.” The chief added, “It’s similar to terrorism when they scare you go on with your daily life.”
The Billy Joel concert is coming up in a few days and the mayor expects the show to go on. Many times, concerts use off duty police as security but police are not unavailable for that work. The chief points out venues can hire security officers.