Mayor Lyda Krewson has ordered a 9 p.m. curfew for the City of St. Louis — in response to more than 50 downtown businesses being looted, four city police officers shot, and a retired police chief killed while working as a security guard on Monday, June 1.
All four of the city officers who were shot and injured have been released from the hospital, police said, and 25 people have been arrested in connection to the crimes that continued until about 5 a.m. on Tuesday. David Dorn, a retired city police captain and former police chief for Moline Acres Police Department, was shot and killed while responding to a burglary alarm at Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry Shop on Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. near Sarah Avenue.
The curfew goes into effect at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2 and will continue until 6 a.m. the following morning, until further notice.
“Last night was an unimaginable and deeply unfortunate night for St. Louis,” said Krewson, during a press conference held at police headquarters at 11 a.m. Tuesday. “This cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Police Chief John Hayden said the crimes were committed by a group of about 200 people, who were largely in their late teens and early 20s.
“Our officers exhibited extraordinary restraint under some extremely difficult circumstances, none of which we’ve seen in our lifetime,” Hayden said. “I’ve been on 33 years and never have I seen anything like that.”
Hayden said the curfew will help police respond to these acts of violence going forward.
As an African-American woman, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said she shares the “deep frustrations and anger” about the inequities of the criminal justice system and supports peaceful protest.
“But what happened last night was not about non-violent protest,” Gardner said. “What happened last night was a small group of individuals who chose to benefit off the pain and suffering of our community and use it as an excuse to cause insensible, undamageable harm to our communities and to engage in senseless violence. These people who committed the heinous acts are not interested in finding solutions to the intractable racism that are at the heart of these protests.”
Heather Taylor, president of the Ethical Society of Police (ESOP), said they deeply mourn Dorn’s death. Dorn always protected the black women on the police department and was there for the community, Taylor said.
“He was murdered by looters at a pawn shop,” stated a tweet from ESOP. “He was the type of brother that would’ve given his life to save them if he had to. Violence is not the answer, whether it’s a citizen or officer.”
Under the terms of the curfew, no person shall remain on a city street or sidewalk during the hours of the curfew, or shall remain in a motor vehicle.
The exceptions to this order are people who: 1) who are traveling directly to and from work or to their homes lawfully, 2) city, state, and federal employees performing work assignments, 3) news media with credentials, 4) those traveling for medical treatment or assisting those traveling for medical treatment, 5) those who have no housing.
“Individuals who are found to be in violation of this curfew are subject to arrest and prosecution under the laws of the City of St. Louis and State of Missouri,” according to the mayor’s press release.
State Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D-St. Louis) and Ferguson protestor said he did not think the curfew would be effective, during a press conference with black clergy and activists held at the same time.
“A curfew would be like kettling people,” Aldridge said. “People won’t abide by it. Then the police will pick and choose who to arrest. It will only make it worse.”
Black clergy members said curfew enforcement will also give city officials another opportunity to confuse civil disobedience with unprincipled lawlessness.
Gardner called on the community to not hide the people who committed the acts of violence last night.
“To the peaceful protestors out there doing the right things for the right reason,” she said, “continue to make your voice heard and help us root out those whose actions worked directly against justice for all.”