Gov. Greitens: ' Violence will not be tolerated' -

Gov. Greitens: ' Violence will not be tolerated'

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ST. LOUIS ( -- Governor Eric Greitens met with law enforcement officers in north St. Louis Friday night before making a public statement.

The governor empathized with those angered by the verdict in the Jason Stockley trial, and urged for continuing peace from demonstrators.

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“People have the right, after this verdict, if they’re hurt, or in pain, they have the right to protest. Our law enforcement is there to protect them,” Greitens said. “Our mission remains the same. That is to protect everyone’s constitutional right to peacefully protest. At the same time we are going to protect lives, we’re going to protect homes and we are going to protect our communities. Violence is not going to be tolerated in the State of Missouri.”

Read: Former St. Louis officer Stockley found not guilty

Protests have been active since the verdict came down early Friday morning, with demonstrators marching through downtown during the day and moving toward the Central West End as night fell.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police announced 13 protesters were arrested during the downtown marches, 12 of which came during an altercation with police on Tucker Boulevard around 4 p.m..

Four officers were assaulted over the course of the day; all suffered minor injuries.

Police: 13 arrested, 4 officers assaulted in downtown protests

The protests in the Central West End appeared entirely peaceful, with no observed altercations between officers and demonstrators as of 9 p.m.

“I was really heartened today to see so many people who were upset by, or hurt by, this verdict that came out to peacefully protest and who did so with dignity and discipline,” Governor Greitens said, while also praising officers on the scene. “The people of Missouri take a tremendous amount of pride in the work they (the police) are doing.”

The National Guard was mobilized ahead of the verdict’s announcement, and Greitens said most of their personnel remains on standby. Some National Guardsmen have been deployed to protect critical infrastructure like firehouses.

Local law enforcement remains in operational control as of Friday night. This is largely due to peaceful interactions between a majority of protesters and officers, something the governor hopes will continue.

“People who are peaceful, [police] are there to protect them and support them. They’ve also made it very clear that assaulting a police officer is not a peaceful protest. Breaking windows is not a peaceful protest. Destroying and vandalizing police cars is not free speech and we aren’t going to tolerate it,” Greitens said.

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