ST. LOUIS (KTRS) A St. Louis circuit judge has ruled former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley, who is white, is not guilty in the shooting death of African-American motorist Anthony Lamar Smith following a police chase in 2011. In his decision, Judge Timothy Wilson determined the state had not met its burden of proof in the capital murder case against Stockley beyond a reasonable doubt.
Activists have threatened protests and civil disobedience if Stockley was acquitted and protesters have been organizing across from City Hall since the verdict was announced Friday morning shortly after 9 a.m. Demonstrators have shut down the downtown on-ramp to Highway 64. (The picture was taken minutes after the verdict was announced as organizers began gathering for protests.)
Stockley shot 24-year-old Smith five times after a high-speed chase. Stockley says he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase began, and that he felt he was in imminent danger when he opened fire.
Prosecutors alleged that Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after he shot him. A gun in the car had the officer’s DNA on it, but not Smith’s.
Stockley left the police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.