Mayor Announces Curfew for City of St. Louis Following Night of Deadly Riots

Jun 2, 2020 at 12:45 pm
The curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
The curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Tuesday that a curfew will take effect tonight in response to a chaotic night of rioting and looting that saw four police officers wounded by gunfire and one retired police captain shot dead.

Alongside city officials, including Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards, Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, Police Chief John Hayden and Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, Krewson first acknowledged the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of Monday's protests but says they gave way to violence at night.

"Last night was a terrible night for St. Louis," she says. "What started as a very nonviolent and peaceful demonstration and protest ended in looting, shooting, burning and attacks on law enforcement. This cannot be and will not be tolerated."

According to Chief Hayden, the chaos resulted in 25 arrests and more than 55 businesses burglarized and damaged, in addition to four police officers who were shot and one retired police captain, 77-year-old David Dorn, who was killed outside of a looted pawn shop while "exercising law enforcement training.”

Krewson says there were "hundreds of cars going from location to location to do harm, to set fire, to loot and to burn things." Fire Chief Jenkerson says that his men often could not get to fires to put them out, including the one at the 7-Eleven located at 17th and Pine streets, because the roadways were blocked. “On most of our responses we were delayed because of the protesters and because of things that were thrown in the street,” he says.

In light of the lawlessness, Krewson has announced that a curfew will be in place each night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., during which time she says everyone needs to be off the streets. She explains that exceptions will be made for those going to or from work, to or from the hospital and people in state and local government doing their jobs.

Those found to be violating the curfew can be held for up to 24 hours, at which time they will either be released or hit with charges, she says.

"This is certainly an inconvenience for all of our residents," Krewson says. "I apologize for that. The actions of a few, the actions of probably a few hundred individuals — some of whom may not even be from our community — are causing this curfew. But we have to give law enforcement and our fire department the tools that they need to try to keep us safe and try to protect property. And this curfew is a means to that end."

Speaking at a news conference of clergy, the Rev. Darryl Gray and state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, who has helped organize protests, stressed that they have pushed for non-violence, and they say a curfew will only cause more conflicts.

"What you're doing is setting up a situation for people to violate the curfew," Gray says. "Violating the curfew is an act of civil disobedience."

Krewson did not announce an end date for the curfew, explaining that it will be in place for at least the next few days.

Hayden says the department has not made any arrests in the shooting of the four officers or the killing of Dorn.

"We’re absolutely actively working on identifying suspects," he says, "so I’ll leave that at that." He adds that the majority of those creating problems on the streets are young — in their "late teens, early twenties."

According to the chief, the four officers who were shot have since been released from the hospital.

"We honor the men and women of the police department and the fire department and those that were shot last night, the four officers shot last night, we honor George Floyd, we honor Captain Dorn, who was killed last night by taking this action and implementing this curfew," Krewson says.

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