Several dozen city and county business owners are expressing their support for those protesting the recent Stockley verdict.
At least 50 business owners and a list of their patrons have been showing their support through an online open letter. It’s being circulated and shared on social media. Local and small business owners said this is a chance to offer their perspective.
The letter sent out last Friday reads in part:
"We recognize that glass can be replaced....We further recognize that lives cannot be replaced, families do not eventually recover, and the fear of being murdered in the streets will haunt certain residents of our community forever."
The co-owner of The Crow’s Nest in Maplewood, Eliza Coriell, said the petition is a cry for local government and local law enforcement to take responsibility. The open letter also alleges that police are partly responsible for escalating tensions in the streets.
"No, we don’t want our windows broken, she said.
“No, we don’t want there to be vandalism but we recognize the fact that no one is dying because of it. The responsibility lies deeper than the personal responsibility of the actual vandals."
Jarek Steele, the co-owner of Left Bank Books, also signed the online letter and said: "We recognize protesters not as other, but we recognize them as us, we are them, they are we, they are our family, they are our friends, they are our community members, they are our customers."
Five on your side asked the St. Louis City Police for comment about the petition and received the following statement, saying:
We are committed to ensuring every citizen’s First Amendment rights, however, we are equally committed to enforcing the laws of our city. If anyone would like to make a complaint of officer misconduct, they should contact our Internal Affairs Division via our website (slmpd.org), phone (444-5652) or in person at Police Headquarters, 1915 Olive. We hold our officers to the highest standards of professionalism and any officer not meeting those standards will be held accountable.