Protests after ex-cop found not guilty in death of Anthony Smith

Protests after ex-cop found not guilty in death of Anthony Smith

Many expect the verdict to be issued tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 15).

Stockley waived his right to a jury trial, meaning the decision rested exclusively with St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson.

Former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley, who is white, was found not guilty of first-degree murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith, a drug suspect who was black, while on duty in December 2011.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published videos in 2016 that showed the high-speed auto chase, and the moment Stockley shot Smith five times.

The judge who decided the matter declared that he would not be swayed by "partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism". Police have blocked off some streets. On Friday, Stockley was found not guilty (after arguing that he acted in self-defense) in Smith's death.

Dramatic footage - captured on the police vehicle dashcam, an internal vehicle camera and cell phone video of the shooting's aftermath - played a key role in the trial that began August 1.

Mr Stockley and his partner said they believed they had observed Mr Smith engaged in a drug deal outside a fried chicken restaurant near central St Louis.

Stockley, 36, could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole.

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

Al Watkins, the attorney for Smith's young daughter, said he disagreed with the ruling, but respected his decision.

The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners reaches a $900,000 settlement, ending the lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith's daughter.

During the subsequent pursuit, Stockley acknowledged under cross-examination that it sounded like he was "going to kill that (expletive)".

Stockley opted for a bench trial rather than take his chances with a jury. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial.

Prosecutors believe Stockley's claim that Smith had a gun and was reaching for it at the time of the shooting was not corroborated by any of the videos or scientific evidence, nor by the actions and reactions of his partner. Members of the local law enforcement community, namely the Ethical Society of Police, a union that primarily represents black officers in St. Louis, have called for Shockley's conviction.

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.

The auto cash came to a close when Stockley order his partner to ram his police cruiser into Smith's SUV.

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.

Stockley and Bianchi pursued Smith and at some point, the police vehicle crashed into Smith's Buick, the report said.

Complicating matters, the judge said, airbags had deployed in Smith's auto, blocking views - of witnesses and cameras - of what was going on inside it.

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