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Jason Stockley found not guilty in shooting death of motorist

Protesters march on Tucker and Market to protest the not guilty verdict in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith by former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS-- People protesting the verdict in the murder trial of former police Officer Jason Stockley, found not guilty Friday of first-degree murder, blocked the on-ramp to Interstate 64 off Clark Street, demanded resignations in the police department and called for an economic boycott of St. Louis.

The protests witnessed by Post-Dispatch journalists have been nonviolent, and the police have gone out of their way to give marchers space, often blocking off traffic to let them pass. By noon, there were hundreds of protesters downtown.

A group of protesters led by veteran activist Zaki Baruti started at Market Street, walked south on Tucker Boulevard, west on Clark Avenue, and tried to get up the on-ramp to westbound Interstate 64/Highway 40. But about 30 police officers with bikes blocked their access.

Many of the protesters started heading for the multi-modal transportation hub nearby.

"We have shut it down!" Baruti shouted through a megaphone. "This is the beginning."

Some protesters discussed moving on to shut down the multi-modal transportation hub nearby, but at least some protesters started marching to police headquarters at 1915 Olive Street.

Police did not come outside the locked building to address the group. Protesters called for police resignations and an economic boycott on St. Louis.

A protest leader known as Pastor Doug said through a megaphone, "They won't get no rest until we get some justice," he said. "We are shutting down every big event this weekend."

One man on a bike was arrested at Washington Avenue and 14th Street.

Protesters also tried to get into the America's Center. Some banged on windows, but were told to stop by other protesters. They opted for a group hug instead.

"We are all subjected to white supremacy and there's nothing we can do about it," said activist Johnny Roberts, 26. "What can we do about it?"

Protest groups that splintered earlier came together again about noon at Tucker and Market, some holding signs. ("How much does the judge get paid?") They began to chant: "Get ready."

Later, protesters faced off with police officers in riot gear on Tucker.

Meanwhile, activists held a press conference at the scene of the shooting.

Jesse Bogan, Denise Hollinshed, Jeremy Kohler and Erin Heffernan contributed to this article.

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