Hundreds of protesters are marching through St. Louis streets after a judge announced Friday that white former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, a black suspect, the AP reports. Protesters said law enforcement officials have used pepper spray as the two sides face off. At one point, a group of the protesters stood in front of a city bus filled with officers in riot gear, blocking it from moving forward. The bus backed up and protesters again tried to stop it, with a few throwing water bottles. The bus moved less than a block before police in riot gear began pushing back the crowd. As protesters resisted, two women said police used pepper spray. Both women's faces had been doused with milk, which is used to counter the effects of pepper spray.
Peter Merideth, a Democratic state lawmaker from St. Louis, joined protesters. He said from what he's seen, "the protesters have been largely absolutely nonviolent." Merideth said, "It's important for there to be white leaders standing here, not for our voices to be heard, but just to show support for the voices that need to be heard." The head of the NAACP St. Louis is asking President Trump and the US Justice Department to immediately review the acquittal of Stockley. In a letter sent Friday, St. Louis NAACP president Adolphus Pruitt said the Justice Department needed to give immediate attention to the case "to get to the truth of what happened and to ensure that justice has been served." Pruitt said the community has lost faith in local authorities to fairly handle such cases. (Read more St. Louis stories.)