In an emotional video posted Sunday afternoon to Facebook, the widow of a slain St. Louis police officer responded to the ongoing riots in her hometown over the recent acquittal of a white cop in the shooting death of a black suspect by bluntly articulating why riots never lead to meaningful change.
“Let’s just look at our history books — let’s go back to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and the ones that did it right,” said Elizabeth Snyder, whose husband Blake Snyder was killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call last year.
“They were peaceful,” she added. “They weren’t violent. They weren’t tearing police cars around. They weren’t destroying businesses, destroying people’s livelihoods. That’s when people wanted to listen to them — when they were peaceful.”
As noted by Snyder, the residents of St. Louis initially protested peacefully Friday afternoon after a local court reached a “not guilty” verdict in the murder trial of Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer who killed Anthony Lamar Smith following a car chase six years ago.
But once nighttime arrived, all hell broke loose.
“Members of a crowd of about 1,000 broke at least two windows at the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson and threw red paint at the brick house before riot police moved in to disperse the crowd with tear gas,” Fox News reported.
Likewise, at least 10 local officers sustained injuries, including a broken jaw and dislocated shoulder. Similar riots broke out Saturday and Sunday evening as well.
Reports of bricks thrown at police. That’s not protest. That’s a crime. We stand behind our officers. This violence won’t be tolerated.
— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) September 16, 2017
“If you’re going to tear your own city apart … no one’s going to listen to you,” Snyder continued in her post Sunday. “I’m sorry, but that’s not going to change anything. You guys are going to get shut down real quick… And then what was the point? Oh, you got to go out and loot some stores or throw some bricks at cops? There’s no point to that.”
“If you’re peaceful, if you get your words out there like the people during the day, I applaud that. I applaud the people who were protesting peacefully and correctly … not in the cop’s faces, not taunting them and saying horrible, cruel things to them. Those are the people I applaud.”
Listen to her full statement below:
While her video continues from there and is definitely worth listening in full, the central point was that while it’s OK — and even rather American — to protest peacefully, it’s never a right to riot, damage property and hurt people, no matter what the cause, and no matter how aggrieved one feels.
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