On Friday Sept. 15, a St Louis Judge found Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the 2011 police shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith.
The Prosecution argued that the defendant intended to kill Smith as video footage from within the police car captures Stockley saying “We’re going to kill this motherfucker” and that Stockley planted the weapon recovered from the scene as only his fingerprints were found on the weapon and not Smith’s.
The judge argued that the prosecution couldn’t prove the officer intended to kill Smith or that the gun was planted as video didn’t show the gun in Stockley’s possession prior to finding it.
In December of 2011, Stockley and his partner, Brian Bianchi, attempted to stop Smith after a suspected drug deal in a parking lot. In video captured from the scene, Smith can be seen fleeing in his car causing the officers to take pursuit before they finally crash into Smith’s car. As the officers close in on Smith, video from inside the police car captured Stockley saying “we’re going to kill this motherfucker.”
Shortly after the car is stopped, both the officers make their way to the driver side of the car and eventually Stockley fires five shots into the car and kills Smith. Stockley exits the car with his department issued pistol and his own personal Ak-47 which is against department policy to carry. He later puts the weapon away before using his issued pistol to shoot into the car.
A gun was recovered from the car but only it only had Stockley’s fingerprints on it. Heroin was also recovered from the scene.
Stockley was eventually suspended in 2013 for violating departmental procedures for pursuit and use of force and eventually resigned from the police force. In 2016 charges were brought against Stockley. He waived his right to a jury trial and requested a bench trial and a judge eventually found him not guilty.
Following the not guilty verdict Friday, protestor took to the streets to demonstrate. Initially the protest were peaceful but eventually turned violent as protesters began throwing rocks at the mayors house and smashed the windows of police cars. Officers in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowds and at least 80 people have been arrested so far.