By David Martinez
On Sunday, June 28, an angry crowd of protesters marched to the house of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to demand her resignation. Krewson had drawn outrage after she went on a Facebook live news briefing to read the names and addresses of residents who had sent in comments calling on the city to defund the police department. Publicly identifying individuals, generally with the invitation to harass them, is commonly known as ‘doxxing.’
The protest, organized by Respect Us, began around 6PM and headed towards the gated Forest Park neighborhood, a wealthy area home to million dollar mansions and many of the city’s elites.
Upon arrival to the Mayor’s street, many protesters defied the march’s reformist leadership by entering through the private gates. One event organizer urged that youth not enter through the gates, but was countered by another protester who said, “If these people are old enough to get shot by racist police, they’re old enough to be out here in the fight! No fear!”
It was at this point that Mark and Patricia McCloskey, residents of Portland Place and personal injury lawyers, emerged from their palatial home, threatening the protesters with an assault rifle and brandishing a pistol. Patricia, holding the pistol, angrily waved it at the crowd of protesters with her finger on the trigger.
Video of the incident was retweeted by Donald Trump, who made no comment but implied his tacit support for the belligerent couple.
Moving towards the Mayor’s home, protesters could be seen spray painting anti-police graffiti on the sidewalks as others shielded them from the view of cameras. The hundreds of protesters soon swarmed Krewson’s home, immediately tearing down the barricades surrounding it. They chanted “Resign Lyda!” and affixed signs to the doors while others painted “Resign” in 15-20 foot letters on the street facing her home.
Krewson was not at home, prompting some protesters to suggest marching to Delmar Loop, an upscale shopping center that to some represents the stark inequality in the area. This proposal led to struggle between the march’s leadership and the more rebellious elements, who departed out into the streets, splitting the action.
“This is revolution! We don’t have to stay in the little box the police let us protest in,” one of those agitating to march into the streets said after they had left the Mayor’s house.
The street march at times explicitly denounced the leadership that had remained at the house. Bishop Derrick Robinson, an organizer with Respect Us and a preacher known for banking on his experience at Ferguson protests, was specifically named. One man on the megaphone asked, “[…] where is Bishop? He ain’t here! He’s not for us! He talks to the police, fuck Bishop!”
The crowd eventually decided to rejoin the protesters who had remained at Krewson’s home, reinvigorating the protest with the militant energy, but this also led to further political struggle between those calling for combative action and the reformist elements. While the night ended with calls for unity, the tensions in the march showed that political struggles will continue to play out in the streets.
Editor’s Note 07/09/2020: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated a window was broken at this protest. On the ground witnesses did not confirm this and the article has been edited to reflect this fact.