Clergy members urge protesters of Stockley verdict to be non-vio - KMOV.com

Clergy members urge protesters of Stockley verdict to be non-violent

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Barricades have been placed in front of the St. Louis Police Department in anticipation of the announcement of a verdict in the Jason Stockley trial. Credit: KMOV Barricades have been placed in front of the St. Louis Police Department in anticipation of the announcement of a verdict in the Jason Stockley trial. Credit: KMOV

Preparations are underway ahead of a verdict in the trial of former St. Louis Police officer Jason Stockley.

It has been three weeks since the trial wrapped up. This week there are mixed messages about plans for a mass disruption and peaceful protests.
Now leaders want to make it clear, violence is not part of the plan.

"Whatever we do we are going to have to handle it very cautiously and respectfully while we let people express themselves nonviolently," says Pastor BT Rice with the St. Louis Clergy Coalition.

People are organizing movements. Reverend Darryl Gray met with protesters on Monday to see what protesters are expecting from members of the clergy and what the clergy is expecting of them. 

"Our expectation is that it has to be non-violent. It has to be peaceful we can not align ourselves unless we can agree upon that and they agreed," he says. 

It's unknown what will happen when the verdict comes down, but police are ready. 

St. Louis City Police told News 4 in a statement that "barricades have been placed at various locations that have been the site of recent protests or have planned protests later this week. Due to recent events around the country, the department is being proactive in ensuring the safety of citizens."
 
St. Louis County Police also told News 4 they are ready as well and have me with other law enforcement officials to respond as a region to maintain peace and ensure First Amendment rights.

Until the verdict drops, Gray says he will keep the conversation going with the protesters to ensure they remain on the same non-violent page. 

"There is righteous rage and there is unruly rage, rage that is not going to bring about anything but more chaos, no change," says Gray.

Friday morning, Al Watkins, the attorney for Anthony Lamar Smith's son, issued a statement urging for calm following the verdict:

 Justice can be a cumbersome, nuanced and protracted process. Regardless of the verdict, the commitment of the State to prosecute Mr. Stockley is, in itself, an important part of all that is justice.

To the extent Mr. Smith can leave a legacy for his child to embrace, it is hoped our City can use this pre-Ferguson tragic loss of life to serve as a catalyst for post-Ferguson healing.

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