ST. LOUIS • Former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty Friday of murdering a man while on duty.

Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was charged with murder in the on-duty shooting of a drug suspect on Dec. 20, 2011.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson’s highly anticipated verdict found the white former St. Louis police officer not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of a black drug suspect after a high-speed pursuit and crash.

Activists, with support from some of the city’s black clergy, had pledged disruptive protests ahead of Wilson’s verdict.

Wilson addressed such statements in his order: “A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism.”

Immediately after the verdict was issued, protesters gathered downtown near Tucker Boulevard and Market Street. They blocked a ramp to Interstate 64 off Clark Street, but were blocked by police from entering the highway. Protesters then headed to police headquarters.

St. Louis Police reminded protesters that blocking traffic is illegal and is not protected by the First Amendment: 

As the protests grew, Wells Fargo and Nestle Purina PetCare sent their nearly 7,000 employees home for the day.

Police officers were seen preparing for potential riots:

Damone Smith, 52, an electrician headed to work, was among the motorists being rerouted from the protest area.

“I think the verdict is disgusting,” said Smith, who is black. “I’m proud of these people protesting. If you look like me, then you feel like there is no other way to express yourself in the face of this kind of verdict. Time and time again, African American men are killed by police and nobody is held accountable.”

The judge explained his rationale for the verdict in a 30-page document filed about 8:30 a.m. Friday.

“No one promised a rose garden, and this surely is not one,” he wrote of the case.

“This court, as the trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant’s guilt. Agonizingly, this court has pored over the evidence again and again … This court, in conscience, cannot say that the state has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt or that the defendant did not act in self-defense.”

Because the state did not prove Stockley did not act in self-defense, Wilson wrote that he could not address lesser charges of homicide or manslaughter.

 

St. Louis Police Department called for peace:

The fiance of the victim Anthony Lamar Smith, Christina Wilson, bravely stood in front of a microphone just prior to the court’s announcement and asked for protesters to not resort to violence. 

Meanwhile, on social media, people who have become famous for doing absolutely nothing but race-baiting, like Tariq Nasheed, are stirring the pot, and totally disrespecting the wishes of Smith’s fiance. 

The Mayor of St. Louis used her opportunity to call for peaceful protests in her city to instead, stir the pot by suggesting that justice was not served, potentially leading angry protesters to believe it is now their responsibility to deliver justice:

Mayor Lyda Krewson released a statement following the verdict saying, “I am appalled at what happened to Anthony Lamar Smith.”

Mayor Lyda Krewson

“I am sobered by this outcome. Frustration, anger, hurt, pain, hope and love all intermingled. I encourage St. Louisans to show each other compassion, to recognize that we all have different experiences and backgrounds and that we all come to this with real feelings and experiences,” she wrote.

Krewson’s comment drew a rebuke from Neil Bruntrager, Stockley’s lawyer.

“How do you promote all those things by creating distrust in a system that clearly worked under these circumstances?” Bruntrager said. “It is irresponsible and a disservice to the community to make statements like that. It’s an insult to Judge Wilson to make statements like that. And it falsely encourages the belief that an injustice was done here when in fact justice was done.” –St. Louis Dispatch


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