News & Opinion | September 17, 2017 9:23 am

U2, Ed Sheeran Cancel St. Louis Concerts Amid Rioting Over Jason Stockley Acquittal

Outrage after St. Louis police officer found not guilty in the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Stockley
A man yells at police in riot gear just before a crowd turned violent 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 Photo/Jeff Roberson)

U2 and Ed Sheeran canceled their scheduled St. Louis area concerts over the weekend as rioting plagued the city in response to the acquittal of a white police officer in the murder of a black motorist.

Violence and looting erupted downtown and in the Central West End neighborhood for a second straight night Saturday after St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

That led to the decision to cancel U2’s Saturday night concert at the Dome at America’s Center.

“We have been informed by the St. Louis Police Department that they are not in a position to provide the standard protection for our audience as would be expected for an event of this size,” U2 and concert promoter Live Nation said in a joint statement. “We have also been informed that local crowd security personnel would not be at full capacity.

“In light of this information, we cannot in good conscience risk our fans’ safety by proceeding with tonight’s concert. As much as we regret having to cancel, we feel it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment.”

Sheeran’s representatives similarly announced the postponement of his concert Sunday at the Scottrade Center out of consideration for fan safety. The singer vowed to return to St. Louis in 2018, “as soon as his schedule would allow.”

Frontman Bono took to Instagram to express his dismay at the events stemming from the Shockley verdict in St. Louis. “I found myself reading Dr. King’s speech from the National Cathedral and asking myself, is this 1968 or 2017?” he posted.