Ex-St. Louis cop, Jason Stockley, has been found not guilty in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Judge Timothy Wilson wrote in his ruling, "Missouri law requires that the trier of fact be 'firmly convinced' of the defendant's guilt in order to convict. This court, as a trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant's guilt… Agonizingly, this court has poured over the evidence again and again.” He continued, “This Court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense…”
In 2011, Officer Stockley was in a high-speed chase with 24-year-old heroin dealer, Lamar Smith. Stockley believed that Smith was reaching for his gun; however, the prosecutor and some in the public seem to believe that the officer planted a gun in the car, even though video evidence did not support this. In fact, dramatic video evidence footage from the police vehicle dashcam, an internal vehicle camera, and a cell phone did not support these accusations.
Reverend Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis said, "I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m mad. We haven’t made any progress since Ferguson, that’s clear. Cops can still kill us with impunity." Other clergy members came out early and stated that the Judge would have blood on his hands if he did not decide according to their choice. They want the rule of law and judicial conduct thrown out. In their minds, Officer Stockley is guilty based on emotion and they want Judges in cases like this to take what the people in the community think and want into consideration.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner stated, “In light of the verdict, it’s time to take a harder look at how officer-involved shootings are addressed in our city. I understand and appreciate the many challenges that face our city’s police officers. It’s very noble work. However, we need further examination and clarity in the laws that govern the use of deadly force by police officers.” She is pushing to have special investigators who would work under the supervision of the Circuit Attorney to investigate police-involved shootings to ensure that they are handled, “fairly and objectively.” There are currently 25 cases under review by her office. Unfortunately, her idea of fair and objective have more to do with emotion and
The attorney for the family, Al Watkins, said that while he respected the process and the laws, as well as Judge Wilson, "I can tell you on a personal level, being intimately familiar with all of the evidence in this case, the facts in this case, that I find the ultimate disposition, the ruling, to be appalling," Watkins said Friday morning. "(The ruling is) appallingly contrary to all the evidence that was present, all of the evidence that was introduced into the record as a matter of official entry in this case." He continued, "The community will be appropriately, surely, disappointed and all that we can hope for, and pray for, is that there is peace in the days to come rather than what we, unfortunately, fear will occur."
People are starting to gather at Tucker and Market. Michael Brown’s father is there yelling about injustice. He stated, “It brings back a whole lot of feelings, you know. I can imagine what his mother is going through right now. We went through the same thing.” However, he is convinced that it is a situation of a bad cop. He said that he will be praying for St. Louis.
In the meantime, the people are walking in circles. Police are preparing for protests and are monitoring social media. Stay tuned for updates as more details unfold.