Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Authorities made more than 80 arrests in downtown St. Louis to cap off a weekend full of demonstrations over the acquittal of former policeman Jason Stockley, officials said Monday.
The protests followed Stockley's acquittal Friday for the deadly 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. A few demonstrators were arrested earlier in the weekend, but dozens ended up in handcuffs on Sunday night.
"For the third day in a row, the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive. This is unacceptable," St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said at a news conference Monday. "Destruction cannot be tolerated."
"I'm proud to tell you the city of St. Louis is safe and the police owned tonight," St. Louis Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole said Monday.
Police said vandalism began after a leader of the protests, Pastor Doug Hollis, said the goal of holding peaceful protests was accomplished.
"We met our goal," Hollis said, "This was a great, peaceful protest. That's what we want."
The protests, though, took a violent turn around 8 p.m. Sunday when a group marched downtown and allegedly broke many storefront windows belonging to a Marriott hotel, nail salon, sushi restaurant, and other businesses.
O'Toole stated some officers were attacked with chemicals and rocks, but no serious injuries occurred.
Hollis later spoke out about the violence.
"We're not apologizing for protesting, but we are apologizing for the people that were not part of the peaceful protest," he said.
Stockley said Smith reached for a gun in his car and that he was forced to shoot him in self-defense. Protesters, though, say Smith was shot following a car chase -- and that the former officer had planted the gun.