Ex-St. Louis Police Officer Acquitted of Murdering Anthony Lamar Smith

16 September, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
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A judge has cleared Stockley in the shooting death of an African-American man. Lamar Anthony Smith, 24, was shot and killed in 2011 while Stockley was chasing him. Prosecutors pointed to audio of Stockley threatening to kill Smith during the chase and alleged the former officer planted a gun in Smith's vehicle to justify his actions.

The judge who decided the matter declared that he would not be swayed by "partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism".

The University of Missouri is responding to the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer, telling students they are "committed to free expression" but it must be done "in a peaceful manner".

Wilson employed sound reasoning, said Bruntrager, who added that Stockley is grateful that "the judge took tremendous effort and pains to make sure that he explained exactly" why he found the former officer not guilty. Just before he shot Smith, Stockley said, "We're killing this [expletive deleted], don't you know", according to dashboard camera video cited in the trial.

Additionally, Wilson found that the prosecution had not sufficiently explained how Smith could have been wounded in his lower left abdomen, given he was sitting inside a auto on the driver's side at the time he was killed. New evidence reopened the case in May 2016 despite a $900,000 settlement the police department paid the Smith family in 2013, one of the largest police department settlements in city history. In the internal report, Stockley said he ordered Smith to show his hands, and believed the suspect was reaching for a handgun between the center console and the passenger seat.

The officer charged with murder didn't deny saying these words during trial.

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St. Louis had waited with bated breath, restless and on edge, as it awaited the judge's ruling, as CNN notes. Officers were acquitted in recent police shooting trials in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Wilson ruled that that the prosecutor's contention that Stockley planted a gun in Smith's auto was not supported by evidence because the gun was too big to hide and would not have fit in Stockley's pant pockets without being obvious. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial.

According to prosecutors, Stockley planted a gun in Smith's auto that day.

Anticipation over the Stockley verdict prompted St. Louis police to put officers on 12-hour shifts in case of potential unrest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. "So, no justice, no peace", the 44-year-old St. Louis resident said. It was the first time the prosecution publicly revealed their belief that Stockley planted the gun, which only contained Stockley's DNA.

Defence lawyers said Mr Stockley had acted "reasonably" in self-defence by killing a drug suspect he believed was reaching for a hidden handgun.

After he fired, striking Smith in the chest, Stockley returned to the police SUV to retrieve materials to render first aid, but when he came back it was too late.

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