St. Louis Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole recaps the incidents of violence on Friday night following the acquittal of a white former policeman accused of murdering a black man. Protests continued later into Saturday evening.
Authorities closed off several blocks around the police headquarters Sunday afternoon in anticipation of the protests, following two days of nonviolent marches and two nights of violent skirmishes that resulted in more than 40 arrests.
The heavy police presence has meant too few officers were available to provide security for events, including Ed's concert tonight and another performance by U2 that was scheduled to take place last night. Live Nation and U2 said the St. Louis Police Department said they're not in "position to provide the standard protection for the audience" as normal.
As NPR reported Friday, Jason Stockley, who is white, was found not guilty in the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith.
"In light of this information, we can not in good conscience risk our fans" safety by proceeding with tonight's concert.
Police eventually used tear gas to clear the area, while almost three-dozen people were arrested, police said, mostly for failure to disperse, resisting and interfering.
The Irish band were booked to play at The Dome at America's Center on Saturday night, while English singer Sheeran had sold-out a Sunday night show at the Scottrade Center.
"As much as we regret having to cancel, we feel it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment", U2 said.
Stockley testified he felt he was in danger because he saw Smith holding a silver revolver when the suspect backed his vehicle toward officers and sped away. Prosecutors said the officer planted a gun in Smith's auto after the shooting.
Stockley had fired five shots at Smith, following a high speed police chase after he believed he witnessed the man engaging in a drug deal. Riot officers were forced to fire tear gas to disperse the crowds after the demonstrations turned violent.