The streets of St. Louis are still ablaze–literally and figuratively–as protesters and police battle it out over the controversial acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley.
One group of cops have claimed those streets as their own.
Video from last night shows a large collection of black-shirted officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) congregated near a street corner. As sirens flash from multiple emergency and law enforcement vehicles, the camera pans over the mostly-barren downtown expanse before settling on the group of cops. They can be heard–relatively quiet at first, then louder–chanting in unison: “Whose streets? Our streets!”
That chant emanating from the kevlar-gloved members of the SLMPD is a popular one among protest-goers. It’s a call-and-response number that’s usually being shouted out by protesters–not the police–as they seek to claim space for marches and demonstrations. The popular chant has cropped up at anti-Trump protests and has even suggested by the Ferguson Response Network on their official website.
This incident may mark the first time in recorded U.S. history where that particular chant has been turned on its head by police officers. As news of the outburst made its way across Twitter, those sympathetic to the protesters were appalled, while police-friendly users balked at the suggestion that SLMPD riot cops could have acted so unprofessionally.
It’s akin Birmingham police chanting “black power” while working the fire hoses. And that’s not an exaggeration.
— mcbc (@mcbc) September 18, 2017
According to David Carson, a photographer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the chant was repeated twice. Carson later followed up with Lt. Col. Gerald Leyshock, who said the chant was not appropriate and would be dealt with.
I spoke with the commander at the scene, he said he did not hear the chant, but said chant was not acceptable, said he would deal with it.
— David Carson (@PDPJ) September 18, 2017
LawNewz reached out to the SLMPD and the videographer who caught the chant on film for further comment, but no replies were forthcoming at the time of publication. This post will be updated if and when any such responses are received.
Roughly 80 people were arrested during last night’s demonstrations as police.
[image via screengrab]