(ST. LOUIS) — The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating reports that one of its officers posted a meme on Facebook that referred to Black Lives Matter protesters as “domestic terrorists,” according to a local newspaper.
The announcement came earlier this week amid protests in St. Louis over a judge’s decision to acquit a white former police officer in the 2011 shooting death of a black man.
Lisa Clancy, a participant in the protests, said a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer posted the meme in the comments section of a Facebook post she wrote on Saturday, explaining why she attended the protests, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
Clancy alleged that the officer commented on her original post with a photo from a Black Lives Matter rally with “the Klan with a tan” and “domestic terrorists” superimposed on it.
Clancy also posted a screenshot of the interaction on Twitter Sunday, tagging both the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The controversial comment has since been deleted and ABC News was unable to reach the owner of the Facebook account in question.
A spokesperson for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department told the Belleville News-Democrat on Monday the department had launched an internal investigation into “the matter,” but they did not confirm if the person was indeed one of its officers.
More than a thousand peaceful demonstrators carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs and ones that read “No Justice, No Profits” took to the streets in St. Louis last week after St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson found Jason Stockley, 36, not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. On Dec. 20, 2011, the then-police officer shot 24-year-old Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase and crash.
Some 160 people have been arrested since the demonstrations began on Friday, according to figures released by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Tuesday as the protests carried on into a fifth day.
Leaders of multiple faiths on Tuesday called for peace and justice amid the chaos that followed Friday’s acquittal. Speakers at the service included Roman Catholic Archbishop Robert Carlson, black church pastors, and Jewish and Muslim leaders.
“Let us remember that we are not a divided humanity, but a human family,” Carlson said. “Let us show love instead of hatred.”
Organizers of the peaceful protests said they were frustrated with the demonstrators getting unruly at night, saying they could make it harder for them to spread their nonviolent message. Krewson on Tuesday said she’s planning to meet with protesters.
“Today we saw again that the vast majority of protesters were nonviolent,” Krewson said during an early morning briefing on Monday. “But for the third day in a row, the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive.”
The St. Louis police department also tweeted images of confiscated knives, guns, masks and other types of protective gear from a “rioter” who police said was arrested.
Local organizer Anthony Bell said he understands why some act out, but he urged people to remain calm.
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