Curfew set after violent night of protesting

Curfew set after violent night of protesting

DOWNTOWN – After a night of violent rioting, Mayor Lyda Krewson struck back with an executive order establishing a curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m, starting Tuesday.

In a news conference at city police police headquarters late Tuesday morning, Krewson said that nonviolent demonstrations escalated to looting, shooting and attacks on law enforcement. Retired Capt. David Dorn was killed, and four city police officers were shot but survived.  

“This cannot be and will not be tolerated,” Krewson said. “I won’t call it a protest,” she asserted, “going from location to location to do harm, to loot, to burn things.”

The curfew states that no person shall be on a city street or sidewalk or be in a motor vehicle during the hours of the curfew. 

Exceptions to the order include traveling directly to and from work or to homes directly; government employees on work assignments; news media with credentials; those traveling for medical treatment or assisting those traveling for medical treatment; and the homeless.

A news release said that in rioting on Monday night and Tuesday  morning, there was widespread criminal behavior, including assault with deadly weapons and widespread property damage.

The most serious incident was the killing of Dorn.

City police said officers received a report of a shooting at 2:38 a.m. Tuesday at Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry, 4123 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. They found Dorn, 77, on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso. Dorn was pronounced deceased at the scene. The pawn shop also was looted. The Homicide Division is investigating the incident. Anyone with information is urged to call the Homicide Division directly at 314-444-5371. 

Krewson acknowledged that the curfew was certainly an inconvenience to city residents.

“I apologize for that, because the actions of a few, the actions of a few hundred individuals, some of whom may not even be from this community, are causing this curfew,” Krewson said. “We have to give law enforcement and our fire department the tools that they need to try to keep us safe and to try to protect property.”

Police and prosecutors at the news conference, including city Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards, police Chief John Hayden and Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, promised they’d do everything they could to catch those responsible for the violence. 

Edwards said the violence began after police officers joined in with peaceful protesters on Monday. 

“Yesterday evening and throughout the early morning, many of the same protesters our officers protected turned violent,” Edwards said. 

“Last night, over 200 people engaged in persistent criminal activity from 9 p.m. to about 5 a.m. this morning,” Edwards said.  

Edwards promised to take every step to catch the lawbreakers whose pictures were caught on surveillance cameras.

“I will use every tool available to me to count every freckle on your face until you have been identified and arrested,” he said. 

Hayden said that so far, there had been 25 people arrested on various charges, and that 55 businesses had been either damaged or burglarized. 

Gardner said she continued to work for a more equitable criminal justice system and backed peaceful protest that shines a light on systemic racism. 

However, she said, “I will use the full power of the law and my office to prosecute and hold accountable anyone who murders police officers, who shoots at police officers or harms anyone in my community.”

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