Local NAACP panel discusses Stockley ruling, protests

ST. LOUIS - Almost a week after the results of the Stockley murder trial erupted into days of protest, dozens of people from all over St. Louis city and county gathered for an NAACP panel discussion. Their topic: "How does St. Louis move forward?"

“It’s just one of these verdicts that put an extra burden on law enforcement and its important we have these conversations,” lieutenant Troy Doyle said.

“We have to have an honest conversation so it gets to the point where we start looking at everybody as if they’re human and everybody has rights,” State Rep. Bruce Franks said.

Reps. Franks and Steve Roberts were joined by St. Louis County Police Lieutenant Troy Doyle on the panel. Discussion ranged from their feelings following the verdict, the protest that followed, laws that needs to be reviewed, and what needs to be done in St. Louis to bring change – no matter the race.

Following questions to the commentators, St. Louisans got the chance to have their voices heard as well.

“Black people are oppressed, depressed, suppressed, and recessed economically in this town,” one man said.

With a police chief position still up for grabs and a primary election around the corner, Rep. Roberts said St. Louisans must realize that now is the time to make change.

“Leadership needs to start at the top down, and whoever the chief is, they’re going to have to have a vision for what’s to come,” Roberts said.

And as protests continue throughout the St. Louis area, the message is clear: most change will come from at the voters booth.

“If you have a community that votes well, how about you go to the neighboring community,” Franks said. “We have to do this collectively. We can’t just put this on the folks who don’t know necessarily or that has been disenfranchised with this process.”