Sun, Sep 17, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Protesters clash with police after officer’s acquittal

TOWN MAYOR TARGETED:emonstrators broke library windows and threw bricks and water bottles at officers, and paint at the home of the St Louis mayor

AP and Reuters, ST LOUIS, Missouri

A protester faces off with law enforcement officials in St Louis, Missouri, yesterday after a former police officer was acquitted of murder on Friday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

A judge acquitted a former St Louis police officer of murder in the 2011 killing of a drug suspect, sparking street demonstrations that put protesters face-to-face with police in riot gear.

Judge Timothy Wilson found the former officer, Jason Stockley, not guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.

The bench ruling on Friday came more than a month after testimony concluded.

Protesters had threatened civil disobedience if Stockley was acquitted and authorities took steps to deal with that scenario.

All three downtown courthouses, including the federal courthouse, and some city schools were closed on Friday in anticipation of the verdict.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets during clashes with protesters in St Louis early yesterday after a white former policeman was acquitted of murdering a black suspect.

A rally over the not-guilty verdict turned violent after police confronted a small group of demonstrators.

Officers fired tear gas as people broke windows at a library and two restaurants, and threw bricks and water bottles at officers.

Protesters also threw rocks and paint at the home of St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, acting police commissioner Lawrence O’Toole said.

Nine city officers and a state trooper were injured and at least 23 people were taken into custody, he said.

After the ruling, about 600 protesters marched from the courthouse through downtown St Louis, chanting: “No justice, no peace” and “Hey hey! Ho ho! These killer cops have got to go.”

Some held “Black Lives Matter” signs.

“I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m mad,” Reverend Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St Louis said by telephone. “We haven’t made any progress since Ferguson, that’s clear. Cops can still kill us with impunity.”

Stockley and his partner saw what appeared to be a drug transaction in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Dec. 20, 2011.

As the officers sought to corner Smith, he drove away.

Stockley’s defense attorney Neil Bruntrager said the officers were nearly run over.

Stockley fired at the fleeing car before a chase began.

Police dashcam video captured Stockley saying: “Going to kill this ... don’t you know it,” in the midst of the chase.

As Smith’s car slowed, Stockley told his partner to slam the police SUV into it, and his partner did so. Stockley then got out of the SUV and fired five shots into Smith’s car, killing him.

Bruntrager said Stockley fired only after Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat toward an area where a gun was found.

Prosecutors said Stockley planted the gun.

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

Stockley, now 36, graduated from a Catholic high school in nearby Belleville, Illinois, then went to the US Military Academy at West Point.

After graduation, he served in Iraq, where he was injured and awarded the Army Bronze Star.

Stockley joined the St Louis Police Department in 2007. He resigned in 2013, about two years after the shooting, and moved to Houston, Texas.

This story has been viewed 5197 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top