Monday, November 11, 2019
US flag

Whites, blacks in Belleville protest a police shooting

A protest dubbed the “Stand With St Louis Against The Stockley Verdict” is expected Sunday in Belleville, Illinois, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. Racism in our larger community trickles down into our schools, primarily because it takes a heavy toll on students and teachers in those schools.

The St Louis metropolitan area has seen a number of protests since a not guilty verdict was handed down in the city in a case in which a white police officer, who attended high school in Belleville, killed a young African-American man after a high-speed chase.

Former St Louis police officer Jason Stockley pursued a vehicle driven by Lamar Smith, 24, in 2011. After Smith stopped, Stockley walked over to his car, fired his weapon five times, and killed him. Those facts are undisputed. A gun was reportedly found in Smith’s car during the subsequent investigation, but the gun had DNA only from Stockley, not from Smith. Stockley was charged with first-degree murder but claimed he acted in self-defense.

Stockley is a graduate of Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville. The not guilty verdict on first-degree murder charges was handed down on September 15 by a judge, not decided by a jury.

Police in the city say protests during the day have been peaceful but those at night not so much. Wearing riot gear, police have clashed with protesters many times since the verdict.

Another protest was expected to occur this evening in St Louis, but this time, the demonstrators were expected to be mostly white, according to a report in the Associated Press.

This protest has been dubbed a “White Allies Only” rally and was planned for 6:30 at Kiener Plaza in downtown St Louis.

Protest organizer Cori Bush said people of many races are upset and angry about the treatment of blacks in St Louis. She said the rally will help drive that point home.

“I think it’s great for people to know there are white people that believe black lives matter and aren’t afraid to show it, that want to tear down systemic racism,” the AP quoted Bush as saying.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the number of fatal police shootings in St Louis so far in 2017 was already a 10-year high, even with three months left. Police have fatally shot eight people so far, compared to five in 2016. All of the people shot by officers were armed, police say.

From the lectern at Westminster College, a liberal arts college in Fulton, Missouri, US Sen Bernie Sanders of Vermont delivered a speech that focused on foreign affairs but didn’t miss the opportunity to suggest the US can’t claim moral authority with the rest of the world when injustice is so prevalent here.

“We need serious reforms in policing and the criminal justice system,” the paper quoted him as saying, “so that the life of every person is equally valued and protected.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

Downers North lights up the gym for Beth

Ongoing fundraising drives for a Downers Grove N. volleyball player killed by an intoxicated driver in Feb. are going strong in this western suburb.

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.

Chicago teacher strike enters calendar week 2

Chicago teachers strike for the 3rd day Monday; the union wants smaller class sizes and support for paraprofessionals.