Police chief calls for peaceful demonstrations following Stockley verdict

Jerome Frank
September 16, 2017

Posted: Sep. 15, 2017 7:00 am Updated: Sep.

On Aug. 28, activists gathered outside the St. Louis courthouse where former police officer Jason Stockley's murder trial was held.

In a written statement, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner acknowledged the difficulty of winning police shooting cases but said prosecutors believe they "offered sufficient evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt" that Stockley meant to kill Smith.

Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder on Friday over the fatal 2011 shooting of a black man - despite the fact that an audio recording of Stockley revealed that he had vowed to kill him. The chase ended when Stockley allegedly ordered his partner to crash the patrol auto into Smith's vehicle near the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Goodfellow Boulevard in north St. Louis. Prosecutors argued that a revolver found in Smith's vehicle had been planted by Stockley to justify the shooting, but the gun was never seen from the multiple cameras that captured Stockley and other officers at the scene.

Wilson says he could not be swayed by public outcry or fear of criticism in the case, which reignited racial tensions that erupted after Michael Brown's 2014 death in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. Surveillance video showed officers block Smith in, who then backed his vehicle into a police auto as the officers approached.

A St. Louis Circuit judge found Jason Stockley not guilty of killing Anthony Lamar Smith.

"During the pursuit, the defendant is heard saying 'going to kill this motherfucker, don't you know it, '" according to the statement. Then, Stockley approached the auto and fired five shots, which all hit Smith. He left the St. Louis police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.

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"Anthony Smith didn't deserve to die on December 20, 2011, but Jason Stockley took his life anyway and tried to cover it up", Levinson said. That officer was never charged but eventually resigned. He said he placed it in his pocket and never used it because, upon visual inspection, Smith didn't have a lot of blood outside his body.

Two Catholic churches in St. Louis - St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Nicholas - opened for prayer and conversation after the verdict was announced. The defense argued that Stockley and Smith struggled before the shooting, leading to the cop firing in self-defense. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial. "I'm sad, I'm hurt, I'm mad", the Reverend Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis said by telephone. The incident started as a police stop following a reported drug sale.

After he fired, striking Smith in the chest, Stockley returned to the police SUV to retrieve materials to render first aid, but when he came back it was too late.

Dashcam video and cell phone footage of the chase was used as evidence during the trial, as well as DNA evidence from a gun found in Smith's vehicle.

Prosecutors believe Stockley's claim that Smith had a gun and was reaching for it at the time of the shooting was not corroborated by any of the videos or scientific evidence, nor by the actions and reactions of his partner.

Krewson says in a statement early Friday that she's praying for the loved ones of Smith, who was shot to death in 2011.

"Stockley's DNA profile was on every weapon he touched", the St. Louis Circuit Attorney said in a press release.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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