Gov. Greitens issues warnings to those looking to do more than v - KCTV5

Gov. Greitens issues warnings to those looking to do more than voice opinions in St. Louis

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Police arrest a man as they try to clear a violent crowd Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in University City, Mo. Earlier, protesters marched peacefully in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley. (AP) Police arrest a man as they try to clear a violent crowd Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in University City, Mo. Earlier, protesters marched peacefully in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley. (AP)
ST. LOUIS, MO (KCTV) -

Amid protests in St. Louis, Gov. Eric Greitens is calling for calm and issuing warnings to people in the streets who are looking to do more than voice their opinions.

For five days, protests in St. Louis have fluctuated between peaceful and chaotic.

“You can not underestimate the power or the danger of mob mentality. Once people start getting worked up, it spreads quickly," former FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman said.

Grietens issued two warnings to people who are vandalizing businesses.

The first statement released over the weekend says, “In the past, our leaders let people break windows, loot, start fires. They let them do it. Not this time.”

“We have to let people know. This is what hurts the other people who want to protest peacefully," Tabman said.

Kansas City, MO police would not comment on the protests in St. Louis. Instead, they directed KCTV5 news to blog posts written by newly minted Police Chief Richard Smith.

Smith penned these two in recent weeks after demonstrations in the metro saying police are there to “ensure everyone can peacefully and safely exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to speech and assembly.”  

“He’s doing his job. And that is a non-political statement. The rule of government is to maintain order," Tabman said.

But focusing on looters does not detract from law enforcement’s goals during a protest.

“You have to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time. You have to multi-task and police departments are prepared for that," Tabman said.

St. Louis is preparing for another contentious night of protests after a quiet Monday night.

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