Wanda Merrill



On September 15, 2017, the day of the Stockley verdict in what was my very first live video, I walked you through downtown St. Louis as hundreds of people gathered to protest one of the most outrageous acquittals ever witnessed in the City of St. Louis. The Stockley verdict.

As I was live streaming, I pointed out how militarized our police force had become, noting how they almost seemed ‘robotic’ as they looked straight through the people as if we were invisible.

I talked about how they resembled ‘beasts’. Something from another world.. Something that didn’t have a soul as they looked to be preparing for ‘war’ against the community. The same community they are sworn to protect and serve. A community that is only trying to exercise their right to protest.

Over the last few days both law enforcement and the mis-leadership of this City proved that what I said was the truth. They see themselves as a military force, but to the community in which they are sworn to serve and protect, they more closely resemble one of the most ‘problematic’ gangs in St. Louis.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the difference in media coverage of this uprising vs the media coverage and it’s portrayal of protesters in the Michael Brown uprising. – Since that time, protesters made it very clear to local news stations and their reporters just how fed up they were with the way we were being portrayed in the media. Whenever a reporter would come to a protest seeking interviews, oftentimes, they would be run off by angry protesters or interrupted during live broadcasts, etc. This has been going on for over 3 years now and at some point, during this uprising, it appeared they got the message and we began to see something that appeared to look like ‘an effort at ‘fair reporting’.
Though short-lived, there was this feeling of hope. Now totally gone, as law enforcement and the mis-leadership of this City quickly chastised the media by removing their ‘privilege’ and treating them exactly as they treat the African American community on a daily basis. As criminals, undeserving of respect and dignity while exercising their constitutional rights. Many of them were blocked in yesterday alongside the protesters, chased through the streets like animals running from slaughter, forced to stand against a wall. Finally, snatched up, roughed up, handcuffed, and thrown in jail.

When the leader of the gang, Governor ‘Frightiens’ gave his interview, he said:
“Some criminals broke windows & thought they’d get away. They were wrong. Officers caught ’em, cuffed ’em, and threw ’em in jail,” while presenting a photo atop his twitter account showing the community a protester, hog tied, being dragged off to jail.
Following his lead, our interim police chief gave his interview making sure to say EVERYONE who was arrested were ‘criminals’. This must have included the journalists and reporters too as this was their punishment for submitting to the request of the African American community to be treated fairly when reporting.

Last night, many of those same reporters and journalist say they heard police chanting ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting everyone they caught on the streets after they had given warning for everyone to leave. President of the board of aldermen, Lewis Reed also backed up these reports by saying ‘It’s true’. As a result, the ACLU sent a letter to Mayor, Lyda Krewson calling the action by police ‘unprofessional’
Now, one would think the Governor and the police chief would immediately condemn this behavior and quickly defuse the situation by ensuring the public this would never happen again. Afterall, there is video circulating in which you can hear the officers chanting.
Instead of doing the right thing, this is what our chief of police had to say:
“These criminals that we’ve arrested should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” O’Toole said. “We’re in control. ‘THIS IS OUR CITY’ and we’re going to protect it.”

Instead of helping to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement, doing whatever within his power to help foster a peaceful environment and help citizens feel protected and safe, the interim police chief, vying for the position of permanent police chief basically disregarded ‘due process’ by calling everyone ‘criminals’. giving the impression that St.Louis, ‘ the sunken place’, fell so low, that we have now begun holding court on the streets of the City with law enforcement now being judge, jury, and executioner. He sounded like a gang member defending his turf as he backed up his officers who chanted.

This is a blatant slap in the face of a already hurting community and we must respond by sending this governor and interim police chief a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of behavior from our leadership. We must also demand that Lyda Krewson DENY the interim police chief application for the job as he has demonstrated his inability to help bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement. He would only create more hostility and division, bringing the City down even further than it already is.. THIS SHOULD BE OUR RESPONSE and each time, one of our leaders make the conscious decision to go on television, disrespecting this community or otherwise pouring salt on open wounds, doing anything but leading in a professional, and responsible way, we should drop everything and respond immediately in such a way that they think twice before doing it again.

Happy Tuesday everyone!!