St. Louis Promises Mass ‘Protests’ Greater Than Ferguson If Former Cop Not Convicted
Verdict May Result In Unrest In Jason Stockley’s Trial
St. Louis, MO – The city of St. Louis remains on edge amid threats of violence from activists and clergy, while waiting for a verdict in the murder trial of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley.
Stockley, age 36, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the officer-involved shooting and death of Anthony Lamar Smith, age 24, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He waived his right to a jury trial and decided instead to have a bench trial, leaving his fate to St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson.
His bench trial under Judge Wilson ended August 9, and post-trial briefs of argument summaries from the prosecution and the defense were due by August 18. The city awaits Judge Wilson’s verdict in this controversial case which is expected to come any time now.
The shooting occurred on December 20, 2011, when Stockley and St. Louis Police Officer Brian Bianchi stopped Smith’s car for a suspected drug deal.
As the officers got out of their cruisers, Smith backed into Stockley’s SUV, then sped past Stockley, almost knocking the AK-47 pistol he was holding out of his hands. The AK-47 was not department-issued, and not department-authorized to carry on duty.
It is the official opinion of Blue Lives Matter that using an unauthorized AK-47 pistol as a weapon on patrol is something that would only be attempted by a person who is completely devoid of intelligence.
While wielding his AK-47 pistol with a drum magazine, Stockley drew his duty pistol and fired several shots at Smith as he was fleeing, but did not hit him. These shots do not appear to be reasonable in the circumstances.
Stockley radioed dispatch of the pursuit and gave updated directions, as both officers pursued in their vehicle. Dash-cam video from the police vehicle was used as evidence during the trial, including a remark that Stockley made, which is hard to understand but one witness testified that he said: “Going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it.”
The pursuit continued, and Stockley told Officer Bianchi to ram Smith’s car, which he did, and which caused the air bags to deploy.
Smith crashed, and both officers got out of their vehicle, with Stockley dual-wielding, holding the AK-47 in one hand and his department-issued firearm in the other. Stockley fired several shots from his duty weapon into Smith’s car, shooting Smith, then put the AK-47 back in his SUV.
During the department’s investigation, Stockley said that Smith was reaching for a weapon, after being told to show his hands.
After Smith was shot, Stockley went back to his SUV and can be seen going through a duffel bag. His attorney said that Stockley went back for a ‘clot pack’, used to stop bleeding.
Once Smith was taken out of his vehicle, Stockley could be seen in the video getting into the driver’s seat of Smith’s vehicle.
A .38 Taurus revolver was submitted by Stockley as evidence after he said that he grabbed it and unloaded it. Stockley’s DNA was found on the weapon, Smith’s was not. It was suggested that Stockley may have planted the gun.
The issue for Judge Wilson is whether Stockley reasonably feared for his life, and as such justifiably defended his life by fatally shooting Smith. Even if Stockley’s actions up to the shooting were unreasonable, the shooting itself would be justified if Smith was going for a gun.
The city has already settled Smith’s family’s civil lawsuit in the amount of $900,000. Stockley is no longer a police officer, since he resigned in 2013. Officer Bianchi is not on trial, and has not been accused of a crime.
On Monday, August 28, about 45 city activists and clergy stood on the steps of the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, and threatened violence and “mass disruption” if Stockley isn’t convicted. One male resident, Tory Russell, said, “It’s going to look a lot like Ferguson. It’s going to be a hundred-plus days, three hundred-plus days of direct action.”
Smith’s mother Annie was present and called for “justice” for her son. She said, “I want to know why is it taking so long to get a verdict. I just hope justice will be served.”
Rev. Clinton Stancil, pastor of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis, said the St. Louis clergy community would support activists “100 percent in whatever response protesters make”. He said “We stand with these activists. And we stand behind them, and we support them. Because just like they’re tired, we’re tired…”
No matter if a suspect is innocent or guilty, threats of unrest over a court decision are never appropriate. It may be too difficult for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fatal shots were unjustified.
Barricades have now been erected around sites of prior protests in anticipation of the ruling.
You can see the video of the shooting below: