St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson apologized after reading the names and partial addresses of at least 10 protesters who called to remove the police during a Facebook Live briefing on coronavirus.
Those who asked for his resignation accused the mayor of intimidating protesters through “doxxing,” the internet-based practice of publishing someone’s personal information as a vehicle for revenge for the violation of privacy.
In a statement Friday night, Krewson, a Democrat, apologized for causing “distress or harm to someone,” but said the names and streets where the protesters lived were already “public information.”
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“Tonight, I would like to apologize for identifying the people who presented me with letters and comment cards at City Hall while answering a routine question during one of my updates today. While this is public information, I never intended to cause distress or harm to anyone. The post has been removed and again, I sincerely apologize, ”the mayor said in a Facebook statement on Friday night.
About 50 people marched from the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, a city jail also known as the “House of Work,” to City Hall on Friday to find that the doors had been closed.
Krewson and Director of Public Safety Jimmie Edwards came out to greet the protesters, who demanded the release of the inmates in “inhumane” conditions. They also used a megaphone to communicate their desire for the city to cut funding for jails, police and prosecutors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Towards the end of his coronavirus briefing on Facebook Live later in the day, Krewson answered a question about the protesters and explained that some had given him suggestions for the city’s budget.
“They presented me with some documents about how they wanted the budget to be spent,” Krewson said, holding up a stack of crumpled papers. “Here’s one who wants $ 50 million for Cure Violence, $ 75 million for Affordable Housing, $ 60 million for Health and Human Services and zero for the police.”
Krewson then read the person’s name and the street he lived on, adding that the person “does not want the police, there is no money for the police.”
The mayor repeated the names and streets of at least 10 activists on Facebook Live, saying that most advocated spending the police and turning that money into social services, according to the River Front Times.
“By the way, I agree with all of these things, except that we are not going to take all the money from the police,” he said. “I think we need our police department.”
The video has been removed.
Today is added to the list of things we never thought we would have to say. To be clear, it is surprising and misleading for Mayor Lyda Krewson of St. Louis to disseminate the addresses of those who dare to express a different point of view on a matter of public interest, “Sara Baker, ACLU Director of Policy Missouri said in a statement Friday.
“It has no apparent purpose beyond intimidation. We are stronger when we foster open dialogue. The chill of the debate should upset everyone, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with the mayor on this particular issue. ”
An online petition calling for his resignation alleged that Krewson “directly endangered the lives of protesters by revealing their names and addresses.” He obtained more than 32,000 signatures on Sunday.
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“She is an abysmal and accommodating leader on a white supremacist agenda, preventing St. Louis from stepping into progress,” wrote Maxi Glamor, who started the petition on Change.org. “To ease community relations, we demand that Mayor Krewson step down and that special elections be held to replace him. She is not fit for the job and St. Louis needs real leadership now! ”