White ex-St. Louis cop acquitted in black suspect's killing

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White ex-St. Louis cop acquitted in black suspect's killing

Postby M-Quigley » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:48 am

http://www.whio.com/news/national/rulin ... vfs5Vg3qO/

A judge acquitted a white former St. Louis police officer of murder in the 2011 killing of a black drug suspect, a decision that could spark protests with National Guard troops on standby.

Judge Timothy Wilson found the former officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. The bench ruling came more than a month after testimony concluded.

Activists had threatened civil disobedience if Stockley was acquitted, and authorities took steps to deal with that scenario. All three downtown courthouses, including the federal courthouse, and some city schools were closed on Friday in anticipation of the verdict.

The police department said officers would be working 12-hour shifts starting Friday and Mayor Lyda Krewson said the State Highway Patrol and St. Louis County police would provide support, with the patrol handling any protests on state highways.


Stockley and his partner saw what appeared to be a drug transaction in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Dec. 20, 2011. As the officers sought to corner Smith, he drove away. Stockley's defense attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said the officers were nearly run over. Stockley fired at the fleeing car, then a car chase began.

Police dashcam video captured Stockley saying, "going to kill this (expletive), don't you know it," in the midst of the chase. As Smith's car slowed, Stockley told his partner to slam the police SUV into it, and his partner did so. Stockley then got out of the SUV and fired five shots into Smith's car, killing him.

Bruntrager said Stockley fired only after Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat toward an area where a gun was found. But prosecutors said Stockley planted the gun. Testing found Stockley's DNA on the gun, but not Smith's.


The circuit attorney's office initially decided not to charge Stockley, but police internal affairs brought new evidence in March 2016. Then-Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced in May 2016 that Stockley was charged with first-degree murder.

The new evidence wasn't disclosed, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained the dashboard camera video and published it soon after charges were announced. The footage outraged activists.

Prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty. Stockley chose to have the case decided by a judge, rather than a jury, and the judge agreed despite the objections of prosecutors.


If a civilian CHL is ever charged in a shooting, I wonder if it would be better for them if they chose a judge instead of a jury? Apparently this cop chose wisely.
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Re: White ex-St. Louis cop acquitted in black suspect's kill

Postby DontTreadOnMe » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:37 pm

I wouldn't bet on it making much of a difference. It may just be how things are done in STL. In the course of looking for info on that case I came across the case of former St. Louis officer Natalie Williams.

While on suspension the FBI and local police executed a warrant of her residence and found:
A .40-caliber handgun
A .45-caliber handgun
More than $10,000 in cash
A bag holding a digital scale, a coffee grinder with suspected heroin residue, several empty capsules, a cutting agent and a box of plastic sandwich bags

Lab tests on a "substance" did confirm heroin, but it wasn't confirmed whether that substance was found on any of the above items or elsewhere. She was was charged with two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of felony distribution/manufacture of drugs.

Result: Jury returned a not guilty verdict after approx. 2 hrs deliberation.
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Re: White ex-St. Louis cop acquitted in black suspect's kill

Postby bignflnut » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:53 pm

A)Why/How is he a "former" officer here?
B)Is he a current officer somewhere?
3)What of his choir boy partner?
“A free people claim their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”
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Re: White ex-St. Louis cop acquitted in black suspect's kill

Postby M-Quigley » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:29 pm

bignflnut wrote:A)Why/How is he a "former" officer here?
B)Is he a current officer somewhere?
3)What of his choir boy partner?


They probably fired him when he got charged, or before, like the cop in Cincy. Now that he's been found not guilty, the FOP will try to get his job back, or failing that, get him some kind of buyout settlement I guess. Maybe if he can't find another cop job in his local area, Sheriff Richard K Jones might hire him. :roll:
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Re: White ex-St. Louis cop acquitted in black suspect's kill

Postby M-Quigley » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:30 pm

bignflnut wrote:A)Why/How is he a "former" officer here?
B)Is he a current officer somewhere?
3)What of his choir boy partner?


I found the answer to that. This link also details why the judge made the decision that was made.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/us/jason- ... index.html

Shooting happened years before Ferguson

Stockley killed Smith years before the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Initially, state and federal authorities did not prosecute Stockley, but in Ferguson's aftermath, then-St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce charged him with first-degree murder in May 2016, citing new evidence.

Stockley left the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in August 2013. Later that year, the St. Louis police board settled a wrongful death suit with Smith's survivors for $900,000.
Few police officers ever face trial in shooting deaths, and even fewer are convicted. Before Friday's verdict, the past year had seen officers acquitted or mistrials declared after jurors deadlocked in several high-profile trials, including at least four since May.
"Officer-involved shootings are very difficult to obtain a guilty verdict," Gardner, St. Louis' chief prosecutor, said at a press conference Friday.
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