Ex-Cop Jason Stockley Found Not Guilty in Killing of Black Man
Ex-Cop Jason Stockley Found Not Guilty in Killing of Black Man
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16 September, 2017, 01:12
According to the court document, the state asked if Stockley was found not guilty to consider if he would be guilty of a lesser degree of homicide, not to consider lesser offenses.
Prosecutors claimed that Stockley had fired his "kill shot" at Smith from just 6 inches away and then planted a revolver in Smith's auto to justify the shooting.
The killing of the black, unarmed 18-year-old by a white officer and the November 2014 grand jury decision not to indict Wilson sets off sometimes-violent unrest and leads to scrutiny of police treatment of blacks in the St. Louis region. Many expect the verdict to be issued tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 15).
St Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said she was "disappointed" with the judge's decision. Police dashcam video captures Stockley saying, "going to kill this (expletive), don't you know it", in the midst of the chase.
He shot Smith 45 seconds after that, prosecutors said. Stockley's lawyer dismissed the comment as "human emotions" amid a unsafe police pursuit. Stockley could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted. He left the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 2013 and was arrested a year ago.
If this is the first time you're hearing about Stockley's case, it's because the shooting happened in 2011.
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"As governor, I am committed to protecting everyone's constitutional right to protest peacefully while also protecting people's lives, homes, and communities", he said in a statement before the judge's ruling. Police said they were being proactive to ensure safety "due to recent events around the country". But the department and all involved officers admitted no wrongdoing, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We need further examination and clarity in the laws that govern the use of deadly force by police officers", she said, calling for a change in the way such cases are investigated. Stockley said over the police radio that Smith, fired a gun. The defense argued that Stockley and Smith struggled before the shooting, leading to the cop firing in self-defense. An FBI expert testified that one shot was sacked at Smith from less than six inches away.
The chase reached almost 90 miles per hour before Stockley told Bianchi to ram their SUV into Smith's auto, which deployed Smith's air bags. Prosecutors also pointed to the fact that Stockley's DNA had been found on the weapon.
The judge also cited two witnesses who testified during the trial that the absence of Smith's DNA on the weapon does not necessarily mean he didn't touch the gun. The former officer said he heard his partner yelling "gun" and then shattering Smith's window before the pursuit.
On Friday, the judge took the side of the former officer who resigned in 2013. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial. "Taking the steps to put the Missouri National Guard on standby is a necessary precaution". That's when Smith "rapidly pulled forward up to the building, then frantically drove his Buick backward crashing into the marked police vehicle twice, before speeding away at a high rate of speed", St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson wrote in his ruling.
Barricades were placed outside the courthouse in downtown St. Louis ahead of Friday's verdict in the Jason Stockley murder 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. Stockley testified Smith was reaching for a gun in his auto.
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