The Rise Of Protest In St. Louis

The Rise Of Protest In St. Louis

Jason Stockley's acquittal isn't well-received.

In December 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri, former police officer Jason Stockley and partner Brian Bianchi attempted to arrest Anthony Lamar Smith during a suspected drug deal. Smith left in his car and the two officers pursued him. During the chase, Stockley is heard saying “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it.” The police crashed their SUV into Smith’s car and Stockley emerged, firing five shots into Smith’s car and killing him. On Friday, September 15th, Stockley was acquitted of the crime. He has left the police force and moved to Houston.

Since Friday, hundreds have gathered in St. Louis to protest his acquittal; it isn’t the first time that St. Louis has seen a black man killed by a white officer without apparent justifiability. The case raised numerous questions when a handgun was found in the car after the shooting, as prosecutors argued that Stockley’s DNA was found on the gun where Smith’s was not. The defense countered, positing that Bianchi had yelled “gun” and seen Smith holding a gun as he drove by. Numerous aspects of the events became debatable, but the court did not find “the officer’s conduct...consistent with the conduct of a person intentionally killing another unlawfully.”

The protests have unfolded quickly, and are largely comprised of daily, peaceful marches with chanting demonstrators. The nights, however, see incidents with police and violence. Ultimately, 123 people were arrested Sunday night when protests turned for the worse.

In earlier reports, police chief Lawrence O’Toole was quoted as saying “I’m proud to tell you the City of St. Louis is safe, and the police owned tonight.” He continued, “We’re in control. This is our city, and we’re going to protect it.” Photojournalist David Carson tweeted saying “Police just chanted ‘Whose streets, our streets,’ on Tucker Blvd after making arrests.” Jim Salter and Summer Ballentine of The Associated Press also reported on the chant being heard. The phrase is common amongst Black Lives Matters protesters, and if truly repeated by police in an effort to commandeer, it might buttress the claims that police incited the violence in St. Louis.

Sean Porter, released from jail Monday evening, claims “They threw us on the ground, sprayed us, hit us, everything. It’s tragic.” Police officers have claims of their own, arguing that demonstrators have sprayed them with unknown substances.

Since the mass arrest, protesters have crowded the jail in downtown St. Louis, chanting “Free Our People,” and expressing solidarity with those arrested. On Monday, over 150 protesters marched to city hall, while in Kirkwood, 100 high school students walked out and held a rally. It has been four nights of civil unrest, and with an acquittal in place for an incident that isn’t the first, it’s unforeseeable as to when it will end.

Cover Image Credit: Ryan J. Reilly / Twitter

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?


A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.


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