- Demonstrators took to the streets this week after a white police officer in suburban St. Louis killed a black 18-year-old who police said pointed a gun at him.
Dozens of protesters held a vigil late Wednesday at the gas station in the St. Louis suburb where Antonio Martin was shot, and they briefly blocked traffic on Interstate 170 during a march before returning to the station. Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall told KMOV-TV that six to eight people were arrested.
Later, about 75 people staged a peaceful protest early Christmas Day outside of a nearby church, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Police in riot gear were present.
The actions were calmer than a night before, when a crowd of about 300 gathered at the gas station, throwing rocks and bricks in a scene reminiscent of the sometimes-violent protests that followed the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson.
Unlike in the death of Brown, who was unarmed and whose shooting was not captured on video, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said Wednesday that surveillance footage appeared to show Martin pulling a gun on the unidentified 34-year-old officer who questioned him and another man about a theft at a convenience store.
Hoskins urged calm, saying, "You couldn't even compare this with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York," a reference to the chokehold death of Eric Garner, another black man whose death was caused by a white police officer.
Hoskins, who is black, also noted that unlike in Ferguson - where a mostly white police force serves a mostly black community - more than half of the officers in his city of 9,000 are black, including top command staff.
State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat who has been critical of how police handled the Brown case, also said the Martin shooting was far different than Brown's, noting that Martin pointed a weapon at the officer.
"That officer not only has an obligation to protect the community, but he also has a responsibility to protect himself," said the senator, who is black. "Because of the video, it is more than apparent that his life was in jeopardy."
But Taurean Russell, co-founder of Hands Up United, asked if police had any reason to question Martin in the first place.