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

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From looking at footage from the scene, the judge wrote that "Stockley did not perceive Smith to be an imminent threat while he was initially interacting with Smith through the driver's window after the pursuit, but only after fifteen seconds had passed during which Smith was ordered to show his hands and open the door, and only when Stockley believed Smith had located the gun". Smith was hit five times. During the pursuit, Stockley could be heard saying on an internal police auto video he was going to kill Smith, prosecutors said.

Posted: Sep. 15, 2017 7:00 am Updated: Sep.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told KMOV she was disappointed by the judge's decision and believed that Smith's death was a premeditated murder."While officer-involved shooting cases are extremely hard to prevail in court, I believe we offered sufficient evident that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jason Stockley meant to kill Mr. Smith".

Gardner would not elaborate on the evidence she's referring to.

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"Officer-involved shootings are very hard to obtain a guilty verdict", Gardner, St. Louis' chief prosecutor, said at a press conference Friday. "You don't get video and audio of a guy with a badge saying in the minutes preceding his shooting of somebody 'We're gonna kill this (expletive), don't you know'". Stockley's lawyer dismissed the comment as "human emotions" uttered during a unsafe police pursuit. Stockley exited the police SUV carrying his department-issued handgun along with his personal AK-47 pistol. "No witness testified to hearing a shot separated in time from the first group of successive shots", read the court document regarding the prosecution's argument.

Greitens and Mayor Lyda Krewson are urging calm.

Gov. Eric Greitens said in a statement that he is "committed to protecting everyone's constitutional right to protest peacefully". Barricades went up last month around police headquarters, the courthouse where the trial was held and other potential protest sites. Police said they were being proactive to ensure safety "due to recent events around the country". Police found a gun in Smith's vehicle, but only Stockley's DNA was on it, leading to accusations the officer had planted the weapon. As they seek to corner Smith, he drives away and Stockley fires seven shots at his auto. However, forensics analysis only found Stockley's DNA on the revolver.

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. Testing found Stockley's DNA on the gun, but not Smith's.

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The case was among several in recent years in which a white officer killed a black suspect.

Few police officers ever face trial in shooting deaths, and even fewer are convicted. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial.

A wrongful-death lawsuit is filed on behalf of Autumn Smith, Anthony Lamar Smith's 1-year-old daughter.

St. Louis police said officers took one man into custody at about 11 a.m., after a police vehicle was damaged. Stockley is accused in the 2011 killing of Lamar Smith following a high-speed chase.

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A group of about 50 activists who support Smith's family gather on the steps of the courthouse where the trial was heard and threaten significant civil disobedience if Stockley is acquitted. Police are working 12-hour shifts, starting Friday. Stockley fatally shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011.

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