ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – It was a mostly peaceful protest on Sunday as St. Louisans upset over the Trayvon Martin verdict took to the streets of downtown.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police responded to a group of more than 100 demonstrators walking down the middle of Washington Avenue. Four of those protestors were arrested by police, one male and three females, for failure to disperse and failure to obey the reasonable direction of law enforcement.
The protestors were upset a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in February of 2012. He told police the shooting was self defense.
Earlier on Sunday, an organized rally was held on the steps of the St. Louis Justice Center. Many of the demonstrators feel the verdict would have been different if the victim was not African American.
“We want justice,” said one demonstrator.
Others shouted that the U.S. Justice department should step in and seek civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
Martin’s father, Tracie Martin, is from East St. Louis. Raymond House is a friend.
“I can’t believe a jury allowed Zimmerman to go free and gave him his gun back to go back out to his neighborhood,” said House.
Tracie Martin has returned to East St. Louis for anti-violence events before. Stephanie Miles says she’s become friends with Martin.
“Offer prayers and let’s figure out what we can do in the future to keep this from happening,” said Miles.
She also believes the post-verdict reactions are an opportunity for everyone to look in the mirror about their own perspective on race relations.
“Are we profiling people? Are we provoking others to profile us?” asked Miles. “Let’s get together as a community and work this out together.
Organizers of Sunday’s rally say another demonstration will be held later this week.