St. Louis, MO — In December 2011, St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley violated department policy when he grabbed his personal AK-47, premeditated, and then murdered Anthony Lamar Smith. The planning of the murder and the actual murder were captured on the officer’s dashcam. In spite of the overwhelming amount of evidence against him, a St. Louis judge on Friday found Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Smith.
“This Court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense,” St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson wrote in his ruling.
The verdict prompted immediate protests from groups who were already on the ground knowing the likely result.
“What the country needs to know is, every single person in our country, we have a right to be mad,” said Al Watkins, an attorney for Smith’s fiancée, Christina Wilson, after the verdict, according to CNN. “We have a right to disagree. We have a right to express our opinion. We have a right to protest.”
“Exploit that right, don’t compromise it,” he said. “Stay peaceful.”
As TFTP reported last year, the video of this murder existed for years, however, it was kept secret until an anonymous person dropped off a USB drive to a local FOX affiliate last year. What it showed was nothing short of a conspiracy to commit and then allegedly cover up a murder.
As the dashcam video begins, officer Stockley is attempting to arrest Smith who’s been suspected of possessing a substance deemed illegal by the state — otherwise known as a drug bust. Not wanting to be kidnapped for doing something that harms no one and makes him happy, Smith fled. At this point, Stockley pulls out his personal AK-47 with a drum magazine and begins dangerously squeezing off rounds in the middle of town.
Unable to murder Smith for running away, Stockley and his partner began a highly dangerous pursuit, endangering everyone around him by driving upwards of 90 mph through busy city streets in the rain. At one point, Stockley’s partner Brian Bianchi, who is driving the car, loses control and crashes into a tree. This infuriated the trigger happy cop.
”Back up,” Stockley yells.
According to the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Probable Cause Statement, Stockley then says something that foreshadows what’s about to happen — he premeditates the murder of Smith. Prosecutors believe he said “…going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it.”
After the officers ran through a number of red lights, Stockley tells Bianchi to ram Smith after he’d stopped, “hit him right now.”
The patrol car smashes into the surrendering Smith.
Both cops surround the car with Stockley immediately firing five shots into Smith — killing him.
The in-car camera shows Stockley then throw his personal weapon, which was a violation of department policy, into the back of the cruiser. He then exits and returns moments later and begins to dig around in a bag — most likely grabbing a ‘drop gun’ to plant it on Smith.
After the shooting, police found a pistol lying in Smith’s vehicle. However, according to prosecutors, it “was later determined by lab analysis to have only (Stockley’s) DNA on it.”
The police video then cuts out and we are unable to see anything else.
Before this dashcam footage was released, a citizen’s cellphone video was the only evidence showing that Stockley entered Smith’s car. When we combine the two videos, however, it shows what the police apparently did not want the public to see. Sadly, however, as the ruling on Friday shows, even though the public saw it, the verdict is not guilty.
After Stockley rummaged through the bag and got out with empty hands, implying that he’d hid something, he walked over to the car. He then hangs around driver’s side door and makes several attempts to lean in while being pushed back by one of the officers. However, once Smith’s body is dragged from the vehicle, Stockley quickly sits in the driver’s seat.
Knowing there was likely blood all over and this would inevitably get on his uniform, why would Stockley sit in the driver’s side of the vehicle, unless he had to ‘recover’ Smith’s gun? That is exactly what happened.
When investigators asked him why there was only his DNA on the revolver, Stockley said he immediately unloaded it for safety reasons. However, if Stockley’s story was true and Smith tried to shoot him, there would have been DNA evidence proving this — but there was not.
After the shooting, a federal judge moved in to protect the thin blue line and issued a protective order forbidding release of the material by lawyers who obtained it as part of a civil suit in which the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners paid a $900,000 settlement in 2013 for Smith’s young daughter, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In August, the judge turned down a request from the Post-Dispatch to lift the order.
Stockley was allowed to remain on the force and only faced a slap on the wrist for using his personal weapon to murder Smith. He then left the force in 2013. He was not charged until May of last year, based on what Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office said was new evidence.
Joyce filed a murder complaint against Stockley in May 2016 and obtained an indictment in August. However, after today’s verdict, the former cop will now go free.
As for Bianchi, who undoubtedly had a hand in protecting his fellow officer, he remains on the force.