Louis Streets After Cop Acquitted Of Murdering Black Man

Louis Streets After Cop Acquitted Of Murdering Black Man

A Missouri judge on Friday found former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a 24-year-old black man named Anthony Lamar Smith.

Stockley waived his right to a jury trial, meaning the decision rested exclusively with St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson.

However, Stockley claimed that he shot Smith in self-defense following a short police pursuit after Smith was suspected of selling drugs in the parking lot of a Church's chicken.

The judge also said he doubted the prosecution's claim the gun was planted, writing: "Finally, the court observes, based on its almost 30 years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly". The shooting took place in 2011, although Jennifer Joyce, then the city's top prosecutor, brought the case almost five years later, in 2016, citing new, unspecified evidence.

Unlike this year's other acquittals of officers who killed civilians in suspicious circumstances, Stockley's guilt or innocence was decided by a single judge rather than a civilian jury.

The not guilty verdict and subsequent protests were anticipated by some in downtown St. Louis.

Greitens, the governor, and Smith's fiancée, Christina Wilson, spoke together in St. Louis on Thursday night and asked that any protests after the verdict remain nonviolent.

St. Louis police chief Lawrence M. O'Toole echoed these sentiments, asking that protests are done peacefully even though he knows "emotions are running high".

"This system and all the politicians calling for peace are ignoring the pain this verdict causes our communities", Butler added. However, if this verdict is met with violence and destruction, it will do nothing but reignite the fear and anger that law enforcement and community leaders have worked tirelessly to address since Ferguson.

"I feel the same way every day", Brown said. She believed Stockley should have been found guilty, she said. The group included black and white protesters and some people carrying guns, which is allowed under state law. Gov. Eric Greitens says he's has put the National Guard on standby in case unrest breaks out. "And whatever the verdict is, we'll also protect people's lives, their homes and our communities".

In his ruling, Judge Timothy Wilson said he doubted the prosecution's claim the gun was planted, writing: "the court observes, based on its almost 30 years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly".

"No one promised a rose garden, and this surely is not one", Wilson wrote.

Wilson said, "Agonizingly, this Court has poured [sic] over the evidence again and again" - including video evidence from police vehicles, a nearby restaurant's surveillance camera, and a witness's cellphone. The officer returned to the police cruiser to locate a first aid kit, but by then Smith was already deceased.

When the chase slowed, Bianchi slammed the patrol auto into Smith's vehicle.

Closing arguments by the prosecution asserted the idea that Stockley obviously planted the weapon in the vehicle of the deceased Smith. The Missouri Legislature has extended the "reasonableness" standard to private citizens who use deadly force in self-defense. The state did not initially prosecute Stockley but, in the aftermath of Ferguson, charges were pressed in May 2016.

"The court observes, based on its almost 30 years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly", the judge wrote in his ruling, which acquitted Stockley of the murder and armed criminal action charges.

Ziah Reddick, of the Universal African Peoples Organization, walks with protesters in downtown St. Louis Friday.

The killing resulted in a wrongful-death settlement of $900,000, brought on behalf of Smith's infant daughter. But what you do see is Stockley putting his completely unauthorized personal AK-47 into the back seat of his prowler. It was against department policy to carry the latter.

Mr Stockley then ran to Mr Smith's window and fired five shots, hitting him each time. Smith had previously been convicted of gun and drug crimes.

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