Not Guilty Verdict In St. Louis, Riots Promised

Not Guilty Verdict In St. Louis, Riots Promised

 Photo: Ex-St. Louis Jason Stockley was accused of planting a .38 Taurus revolver on the suspect.

A judge found a former St. Louis police officer not guilty of first-degree murder on Friday in the death of a black man who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase in 2011.

The former officer, Jason Stockley, shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times. The officer said he saw Smith holding a gun and felt he was in imminent danger, but prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after he shot him.

Prosecutors pointed to the fact that the suspect’s DNA was not present on the weapon but the Department of Justice, under President Obama, had declined to pursue charges.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele emphasized during the trial that police dashcam video of the chase captured Stockley saying he was “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it.” Less than a minute later, the officer fatally shot Smith. Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the comment as “human emotions” amid a dangerous police pursuit.

Stockley, 36, could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole. He left St. Louis’ police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.

Local activists threatened civil unrest ahead of the verdict prompting the Governor Eric Greitens to enact the National Guard.

Greitens met with and assured black faith leaders that peaceful protesters’ rights would be protected, but later stressed that violence would not be tolerated.


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  1. aryanson

    T.N.B. When a verdict doesn’t go their way

  2. Barbara Ray-Velazquez

    So what was the defenses response to no DNA of the suspect on the weapon?

    • Samuel Fivey

      That post is completely inappropriate.

    • Law Officer

      We will give you a chance to remove it before you are banned.

      • LegalBeagle

        a) Why? and b) it’s been three days.

        • ahaz

          Agreed. And why hasn’t Law Officer removed the posting?

    • aryanson

      Right on the money,

    • lordteapot

      absolutely correct^

  3. Jim

    Is that all black people know how to do is riot ???!!!

    • Samuel Fivey

      Another completely inappropriate post.

  4. ahaz

    Another piece of notable evidence missing from this article is that the only DNA evidence found on the weapon was that of the officer’s. There’s a reason why the majority of officers choose bench over jury trials, they even get a greater benefit of the doubt. Another travesty committed by this decision.

    • LegalBeagle

      Maybe, maybe not. The reason that anyone smart chooses a bench trial in a case like this is that jurors tend to make decisions based on emotion, not evidence. Look at Baltimore, and the clear and intentional misconduct of Mosby. (Local defense attorneys wrote articles and guest editorials pointing out that she was arguing an incorrected legal theory utterly inconsistent with her arguments in other cases, arguments that were correct and successful.)

      I truly have no idea if the facts are as bad as alleged, although a good number of savvy people I know believe they are. That does not mean that the prosecutor had a provable case. Those are two different analyses. It is a clue when DOJ will not file, as they have a horrible history in such cases. There are a significant number of people who are either not charged or not convicted even though they are probably guilty. I have experienced it, almost always in sex cases. If the proof is not there, it is not there.

      • ahaz

        Clearly the standard used to convict a citizen is much lower than that of a police officer. Based upon what I have read thus far, it seems the accused officer clearly intended to shoot this suspect and planted a weapon to augment his version of events. And much of the evidence used by the prosecutor was captured by video which displayed the officer rummaging through his own vehicle, returning to the suspect’s vehicle and then a weapon magically appears, with the officers own DNA on the weapon. Civilians have been convicted on far less.

        Regarding your assertion as to why the Feds didn’t prosecute, the standard in which the feds has to meet is significantly higher. The Feds have to proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer clearly intended to deprive the citizen of his rights. That’s the main reason why there are few federal prosecutions of officers accused of misconduct. A reason that is magnified with the new AG Sessions, who doesn’t believe that police misconduct exists. It doesn’t mean the local prosecutor has a crap case.

        I actually grow weary of your critique of Mosby, who correctly decided to prosecute the officers that were responsible for killing Freddie Gray. She is responsible for screwing the cases up royally by rushing the investigation and mis-charging the officers. While you see this as a travesty toward the officer, I view the Gray cases in the same light that DA Anita Alvarez used to protect law officers in Chicago. She was notorious for mis-charging officers knowing that the case against the officer would be lost. I believe Mosby did the same thing.

        I live in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, and it’s common knowledge that this force gives “rough rides”, plants and fabricates evidence against citizens, and too many of the officers are criminals themselves. Everyone that encounters a police officer in Baltimore city knows to watch their back. If anything good comes out of the failed convictions of the officers that killed Freddie Gray, is that it will put the force on notice that officers will be charged for criminal misconduct.

        • LegalBeagle

          You may be weary of my critique of Mosby, but that does not mean I am wrong. She lied, absolutely lied about the basis for the contact and the lawfulness of the stop. Her conduct was so far from acceptable that an uninvolved law professor did a Bar complaint, and although the standard is staggeringly high and darned near impossible to overcome, the lawsuits against her have survived every effort at dismissal.

          Among other things, she concealed potentially exculpatory evidence about Mr. Gray’s prior false claims of injuries resulting the conduct of others. He should have been belted in, no question, but there is not and never was any other evidence of misconduct or even error by the cops. Remember that the judge who acquitted those officers and so vigorously criticized Mosby used to prosecute bad cops. Nifong was treated too gently, and she will be too, I fear. Likewise the filthy DA in Tulsa, who is a disgrace to the Bar.

          I disagree with Sessions’ analysis of consent decrees; there are in fact times when there is a legitimate federal interest. What concerns me is the history of fabrication of data and/or acceptance of claimed but unverified data, and unduly restrictive assertions of law that don’t withstand scrutiny, such as Seattle and Albuquerque.

        • LegalBeagle

          About a day after reading your response, I had another inspiration. That part of the US (NJ/DC/MD) has some really dumb gun laws, and tied to that, a pathological opposition to the use of deadly force in self-defense. Because so few people can lawfully be armed in public, or even own handguns, there tends to be a presumption that because the victim was unlawfully armed their defensive of force was also unlawful. I recall seeing about 10 years ago reference to data about Baltimore and their conclusions as to justifiable homicides, and it is really oddly low. It’s years since I have been there, for many good reasons, but that whole area is a hellhole.

          In addition, most lawyers know far too little about use of force. I am not the only one with a background in it who believes that there are maybe 1000 of us who actually know enough to opine validly. Private citizens will not often have access to those lawyers and experts needed, or even know of them, so when they are subjected to a frivolous prosecution, they are screwed. Just as with LE, private citizens do not kill nearly as many offenders as they could and should. My best guess is that we should see at least 100,000 private citizen justifiable homicides yearly across the US when one considers the violent crime victimization and arrest data. Yes, that’s harsh. I do not value violent criminals, and their well-being is the bottom of the priority of life. I am to compassion what Hound Dog Taylor was to enunciation.

    • Barbara Ray-Velazquez

      Prosecutors pointed to the fact that the suspect’s DNA was not present on the weapon…right there in the article….wasn’t missing at all

      • ahaz

        Thank You…I overlooked it.

    • Samuel Fivey

      In the judge’s 30 page ruling, he addresses that issue and others. The lack of DNA is covered at least twice on pages 26 & 27. The judge actually saw all of the presented evidence, in the same way he heard all of the testimony. I certainly did nether and see even a majority of the evidence and I’d venture no one else commenting here heard or saw all of the actual evidence.

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