ST. LOUIS - Protesters took to the streets in downtown St. Louis Friday after a judge found former St. Louis police officer not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
The decision was announced shortly before 9 a.m. Protesters took to the streets near the Civil Courts building at Market Street and Tucker Boulevard, peacefully demonstrating their opposition to the decision.
They marched to the on-ramp of I-64 at Clark Street, but officers on bicycles formed a human chain to prevent them from shutting down highway traffic. The protesters left the area without any physical confrontations.
Demonstrators then walked north on 14th Street and then east on Washington Avenue. Police say one person was arrested in that area around 11 a.m. for damaging a police vehicle.
Around 1 p.m. demonstrators gathered along Tucker between Spruce and Clark streets. Police say officers were on buses to leave the area, but they were blocked in by protesters who threw rocks at the buses.
According to tweets from police, water bottles were thrown at officers, so officers are outfitted in protective gear. 5 On Your Side reporter Jacob Long saw police use pepper spray on a protester who appeared to be blocking a Metro bus.
As of 4 p.m., the protests continue to wind through downtown St. Louis, heading back to Washington Avenue and then toward the Riverfront.
The protests were sparked after Judge Timothy Wilson released his decision, finding Jason Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Some schools have closed and some events have been postponed through the weekend.
This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.
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