The nation is watching the City of St. Louis as demands for the resignation of Mayor Lyda Krewson have come from top city officials, aldermen, community leaders, activists and thousands of citizens.
Krewson received national attention when she read the names and addresses of citizens calling for the city to defund the police on a Friday, June 26 Facebook Live broadcast. Many said the mayor doxing them put their lives in danger. One of the activists was arrested the next day during a Florissant Police protest.
“Lyda Krewson releasing names and addresses of citizens engaged in democratic acts of letter-writing to #closetheworkhouse and #defundthepolice … demonstrates a lack of fitness,” Deaconess Foundation President and CEO Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson said on social media.
The Facebook video showing the doxing has since been deleted and Krewson issued an online apology.
As of press time, nearly 54,000 people had signed a Change.org petition calling for Krewson’s resignation started by activist Maxi Glamour. The site was registering new signatures by the second on July 1.
“I echo the calls for Mayor Krewson’s resignation,” St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones said on social media. “Constituents should not fear retaliation for expressing their opinions on how our government aligns its spending priorities.”
Krewson’s actions – and those of local attorneys Mark McCloskey and Patricia McCloskey pointing firearms at protestors marching for Krewson’s resignation on Sunday, June 28 – appeared in news outlets from Fox News to The Washington Post.
“It would be wonderful if for once our city could make national news for the right reasons, like closing the Workhouse and defunding police,” said Ward 15 Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green. “Instead we seem to always be the example of what not to do.”
The doxing has spread fear among the St. Louis activist community. After all, the police department that Krewson administers, and which they seek to defund, are the subject of dozens of lawsuits alleging brutality against citizens who protest them – and those acts of police violence were committed on public streets.
One person exposed by Krewson, whose name will not be repeated here, said they were “disturbed” by Krewson broadcasting their name and address. They said they considered staying with friends because they were scared of the exposure.
“That kind of signaling from the mayor to the police force, who we already know from experience have intimidated people, is frightening,” they said. “There’s a lot of scary white supremacists and Nazis and trolls on the Internet, but the police are a whole other layer. Those folks have even more tools to potentially harm and harass.”
Thousands have expressed their fear in tweets under the #krewsonresign hashtag. “Mayor Krewson trying to get us killed because we disagree with her police funding budget,” stated one tweet.
Another person whose name was broadcast by Krewson was arrested the next day. The doxed activist’s arrest – which was captured on video – took place as protestors demonstrated outside of the Florissant Police Department. Activists have been consistently present at the department in response to a man being hit with an unmarked police video and then kicked and struck during a violent arrest. The detective, Joshua Smith, has since been fired and charged with assault.
Several hundred protestors marched in the Central West End, where Krewson lives, on June 28 to demand Krewson’s resignation and to call to defund the police and close the Workhouse. Organized by Expect Us and Respect Us, protestors faced barricaded streets and gun-toting property owners as they chanted, “Lyda Krewson has to go.”
Other public officials and city leaders have joined the protestors’ demand in public social media comments.
“No leader should resort to intimidation of the residents they were elected to represent,” said Ward 20 Alderwoman Cara Spencer. “Period.”
“I am disappointed and angered by the actions of our mayor,” Ward 25 Alderman Shane Cohn said. “Her actions were irresponsible and unethical.”
Cohn said the Board of Aldermen is looking into actions it could take against the mayor.
Krewson has said she will not resign. The next election for St. Louis mayor is in 2021.
The petition calling for Krewson’s resignation is at https://tinyurl.com/Lyda-resign.