A common chant could be heard on the streets of St. Louis Sunday night as protesters demonstrated over a police shooting. "Whose streets? Our streets" went the refrain, a common one used by Black Lives Matter protesters. This time, however, it was police officers who were doing the chanting, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reporters heard the chant after officers cleared the streets late Sunday, making more than 80 arrests when the demonstration took a violent turn. The AP also reported hearing the officers' chant. It's not clear whether police superiors will approve of the move, but Lawrence O'Toole, the interim chief of the St. Louis Police Department, struck a defiant tone at a news conference about 1am local time Monday.
"I'm proud to tell you the city of St. Louis is safe and the police owned tonight," O'Toole said after the mass arrests. It was the third straight night protesters had taken to the streets to express their anger over the acquittal of a white officer who killed a black man. On Sunday, things remained largely peaceful until about 8pm, when authorities say a small group of protesters broke off and began smashing windows downtown. Police say several officers were assaulted by rocks and chemicals of some kind. "We're in control," said O'Toole afterward. "This is our city and we're going to protect it." The protests continued Monday morning, with demonstrators marching on downtown streets during rush hour, reports the Washington Post.