Protests Continue In St. Louis NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Alderman John Collins-Muhammad about protests against the recent police shooting verdict in St. Louis.
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Protests Continue In St. Louis

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Protests Continue In St. Louis

Protests Continue In St. Louis

Protests Continue In St. Louis

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NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Alderman John Collins-Muhammad about protests against the recent police shooting verdict in St. Louis.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In St. Louis last night, protesters smashed windows and threw objects at police in a second night of demonstrations over the acquittal of a white former police officer in the fatal shooting of a black man. In 2011, Officer Jason Stockley shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith following a car chase. Stockley claimed it was self-defense, but the officer was heard saying on an in-car video camera that he was going to kill Smith. The prosecution alleged the policeman also planted a revolver in Smith's car, which was found to only carry Stockley's DNA. We're joined now by John Collins-Muhammad, an alderman in St. Louis who's been taking part in the protests.

Good morning, sir.

JOHN COLLINS-MUHAMMAD: Good morning. How are you?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm very well. Can you give us your reaction to the verdict?

COLLINS-MUHAMMAD: I completely - I'm frustrated - completely frustrated, upset, disappointed. I almost feel no hope whatsoever. And now with this verdict, everyone knew in the back of their minds there was going to be a no-guilty verdict. We're just just trying to be optimistic, just trying to cling on to hold on to and hold on to just a little bit of hope, thinking that our lives actually matter. But time and time and again, we see the same scenario. A young black man or young black woman of color is shot down by police - and that officer gets acquitted, no indictment or non-guilty verdict.

The same scenario happens again and again and again, and it's always proven that our lives don't matter. But we want to believe in our hearts so much that it does that even when we know in our hearts and in our mind that this officer's going to get off scot-free, we want to just believe that, no, the justice system is going to work for us this time. This time, that justice in the world represent us.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Sir, you've been out protesting. How is the community responding to this verdict interview?

COLLINS-MUHAMMAD: Complete unification. It's complete unification. The community is coming out because the community share the same sentiments - I share the same sentiments that we all share. And that's just frustration. Of course, you're going to have some people who don't agree with what we're doing. And that's OK because I believe that you can disagree without being disagreeable. But we are seeing so much support and so much love from the community, and it's a beautiful thing to see. It's just unfortunate that it has to come in this unfortunate reality.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This was a trial without jury. And in its ruling, the judge who heard and decided the case said he had agonized over the evidence. But in the end, there was simply - he was simply not convinced of the defendant's guilt. I don't want to get into the specifics of what happened in the courtroom, but was justice not served? The prosecution made its case, and a judge issued a ruling.

COLLINS-MUHAMMAD: Justice was not - justice was not served. You know, sometimes justice is blind. I mean, it is clear, it's evident that that man, Jason Stockley, is guilty - was guilty and should've been convicted, should've had the death penalty. And that did not happen. I mean, we seen the evidence. We seen the gun. We listened to the tapes. We watched the interview. We heard it. We heard this all before. The same scenario again. Back to Trayvon Martin, back to Tamir Rice, back to Michael Brown. This is all the same scenario, and every time, the white officer gets off. Justice was not served...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you.

COLLINS-MUHAMMAD: ...If justice was served, Jason Stockley would be dead right now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Stockley has, as we know, said that he is innocent and acted in self-defense. John Collins-Muhammad is an alderman in St. Louis.

Thank you so much for joining us.

COLLINS-MUHAMMAD: Thank you.

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