The Mayor of St. Louis is facing requests for discharge after the publication of names of protesters
The mayor of St. Louis is faced with ongoing calls for her dismissal after reading the names and addresses of protesters who have called on her to expose the police and close down the city jail.
A petition calling for Lyda Krewson’s resignation has generated over 50,000 signatures since she was uploaded five days ago, as political opponents pressured her to go.
But Krewson – a Democrat who won her 2017 election while promising to reduce crime – has said she’s not going anywhere and plans to look for a second term in 2023.
The controversy stems from a Facebook Live broadcast that Krewson made last week after meeting activists when she received a bundle of budget proposals that suggested cutting police funding to zero and allocating the money elsewhere.
Krewson read the proposals on the live stream, including the names and addresses of the protesters written on it.
The move sparked a predictably furious response, accused of intimidating activists by opening them to retaliation.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (pictured) faces calls to resign after revealing publicly the names and addresses of anti-police protesters in the weeks following George Floyd’s death
Krewson then apologized, saying she “never intended to harm or cause any harm to anyone,” but did not explain why she did it.
Councilor Megan Green, who was alleged to have some of the activists from her ward, has led to her resignation.
In response to Krewson’s apology, she wrote, “It’s not about intention. It’s about impact.
“The apology takes no responsibility for actions and no commitment to do things differently in the future. [You] endanger our residents and have to resign. ‘
The campaign to have Krewson removed had escalated on Sunday evening when activists marched into the gated neighborhood where she lives to protest outside her home.
It caught national attention when Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a white couple who are prominent lawyers in the city, walked out the door with an AR-15 rifle and a pistol and began aiming the weapons at the crowd.
A demonstrator’s sign asks for the resignation of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson during a demonstration outside her home on Lake Avenue in St. Louis on June 28
Indeed, for Krewson, who was chosen to curb rampant violence in the city, calls to unmask the police sound on a very personal level. She and her children watched with horror 25 years ago as her husband was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking.
Jeff and Lyda Krewson and their two small children returned from shopping in 1995 when two carjackers approached with guns. Jeff Krewson was fatally shot in the neck while trying to reverse the car. Lyda Krewson and her children aged 2 and 5 were not injured.
St. Louis was violent then, as it is today. The city of 300,000, which is roughly equally divided between black and white residents, tends to have one of the highest homicide rates in the country and 2020 will be a brutal year.
It’s also a region with a long history of racial strife that flooded in 2014 when a white officer fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, in nearby Ferguson. Agent Darren Wilson was cleared of misconduct and eventually resigned, and the shooting drew attention to the uncomfortable relationship between the St. Louis Police Department and the black residents.
Hundreds of protesters march on Waterman Boulevard on their way to the home of Mayor of St. Louis, Mayor Lyda Krewson on Sunday, June 28. The protesters demanded Krewson’s resignation after reading the names and addresses of several residents who supported the police during an online briefing
Krewson, 67, defeated three high-profile black candidates in the March 2017 Democratic primaries, aided by a police union endorsement. She easily won in the April general election.
Protests broke out months later after a white former police officer, Jason Stockley, was acquitted on the death of a black suspect.
During a demonstration in the center in September 2017, more than 120 people were arrested, some of them violently, including bystanders and journalists. On another evening, protesters broke windows and threw paint at Krewson’s house.
Floyd’s death fueled tensions in St. Louis. Speaking live on Facebook on Friday, Krewson said she met protesters who presented her written suggestions for the city budget, including proposals to cut funding for the police. She read the names and addresses of some protesters.
Armed homeowners walk in front of their house along Portland Place, confronting protesters
Demonstrators then marched to Krewson’s house on Sunday evening and painted the word ‘RESIGN’ on the street. The protest drew national attention when the widespread video featured a white couple standing in front of their nearby mansion targeting passing protesters. Their lawyer said they support the Black Lives Matter movement and were armed because they feared for their lives.
Other mayors were also besieged.
When protesters marched to the Mayor of Minneapolis house a few days after Floyd’s death, Frey was honored from the street after refusing to support calls for the abolition of police.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was pressured to resign for weeks over protests over police liability. As in St. Louis, protesters and some city councilors have pursued a drastic reduction in the law enforcement budget.
Krewson’s spokesman, Jacob Long, said the mayor was unavailable for an interview, but has no plans to resign and plans to seek a second term.
Anita Manion, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, said the moment may be too great for Krewson to survive politically.
“I have a feeling the current movement will not disappear anytime soon, and I don’t think many St. Louisans will forget,” Manion said.
Resignation from office seems unlikely as it would require a revocation vote, and obtaining enough signatures for a special election to take place would take several months, with the next mayoral election only eight months away.
In the future, Krewson “supports the reform of the sensible police force and pledges to carry out a comprehensive review of the policy on the use of force,” Long said.
For Reed, Krewson’s actions are the most important.
“You can’t afford to be deaf,” said Reed.