St. Louis protests could cost city a chance at Amazon’s second headquarters, thousands of jobs

St. Louis protests could cost city a chance at Amazon’s second headquarters, thousands of jobs
Police in riot gear (Image: YouTube screen grab via Time)

The right to protest is guaranteed by the Constitution, as long as the assembly remains peaceful, but habitual protesting over the same tired grievance comes with a coast.

Take the recent round of protests in St. Louis, which like so many that preceded it was predicated on the unproven belief that the police have it in for black people and that justice was not served in the trial of a white police officer who fatally shot a black man.

This scenario has played out countless times now, but this time it may affect a corporate decision that could end up costing the city jobs.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it was opening a second company headquarters somewhere in North America. The decision, the massive tech conglomerate, explained was to be based on cities’ abilities to prove their respective worths.

But the recent events in St. Louis, in which police arrested dozens of vandals, may have taken the city out of the running.

“There is no good timing for something like this and it will have an impact,” said Didi Caldwell, founding principal with Global Location Strategies, which helps companies choose locations for new businesses and expansion, according to a Reuters report published Saturday.

The company says it expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction, while creating up to “50,000 high-paying jobs” just for direct employment.

“Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy – every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional 1.4 dollars for the city’s economy overall,” Amazon wrote, describing its current headquarters. Jeff Bezos says that he expects the new headquarters “to be a full equal” to its one in Seattle.

So cities are acting as suitors, lining up to make their bids. But civil unrest in St. Louis over the past weeks may be a turnoff for Amazon.

Twenty-three businesses in the Delmar Loop, a thriving business and entertainment area, sustained critical damage during tense protests last week after people took to the streets. The protests were incited by a judge’s decision to rule former police officer Jason Stockley not guilty. Stockley killed a black driver, Anthony Lamar Smith, after a police chase.

“People were saying, ‘Unless the city cleans up its act, we’ll never get Amazon,’” said Lindenwood University economics professor Howard Wall, reports Reuters.

A number of demonstrators associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement were seen marching with a banner that read “F*ck The Police” around the same time as the other protests. Other protestors, who may or may not have been associated with BLM, surrounded a reporter and hit him with water bottles in an act of apparent intimidation and misdirected anger.

“Sometimes the economics are sort of a wash and it just becomes about where am I more comfortable doing business and living,” Caldwell said.

Amazon did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by time of publication.

This report, by Eric Lieberman, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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