At a news conference earlier Saturday night, Lawrence O’Toole, the city’s acting police chief, said that most of the demonstrations had been peaceful and that officers were committed to allowing peaceful protesters to speak out.
Saturday morning, about 200 people had gathered in a park in University City to march. Joan Bray, 72, a former state lawmaker who was in the crowd, said she was distressed “that the verdict was so inevitable,” adding, “It’s so sided to the police.”
Protesters also converged on West County Center, a suburban mall about 20 miles from St. Louis and chanted, “You can’t stop revolution” and “No justice, no profits.”
A few stores closed their security gates but reopened after the demonstrators had passed. Police officers stood indoors nearby.
The demonstrations continued at various retail sites in the afternoon. Protesters marched through the Chesterfield Mall, another suburban shopping center west of St. Louis, and then to the Taste of St. Louis, an outdoor exhibition for local restaurants.
Mike Kociela, the producer of the Taste of St. Louis, welcomed the marchers. Some protesters were allowed to take the microphone at the bandstand.
“We love you. Whether you love us back is irrelevant,” Cori Bush, 41, an African-American activist from the suburb of Florissant, told the mostly white patrons. “We are not trying to take anyone hostage. We are here to let you know that black lives matter.”
The band U2 canceled a concert scheduled for Saturday night at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis…