Former St. Louis Officer Declared Not Guilty Over 2011 Shooting

Ed Sheeran cancels sold-out Missouri gig over security fears

Former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley, who is white, was found not guilty of first-degree murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith, a drug suspect who was black, while on duty in December 2011.

Prosecutors had asked for lesser charges to be considered if Stockley was acquitted of murder. Veteran St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson is appointed to hear the case. "This court, as a trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant's guilt", he wrote in his ruling. "Agonizingly, this Court has poured over the evidence again and again".

Stockley originally said he wanted to kill Smith - whom police had pursued on suspicion of him taking part in a drug deal - in the wake of a vehicle chase that lasted for around three miles before he and his fellow officers caught up to Smith. The tweet also said rocks were being thrown at the buses. The demonstrators were ordered to disperse.

In 2011, Jason Stockley, 36, fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, after a auto chase following what Stockley said was a drug transaction.

He shot Smith 45 seconds after that, prosecutors said. The prosecution, on the other hand, contended that Stockley committed a premeditated murder and planned to kill Smith, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. It was against department policy to carry the latter.

Many local activists believe the Stockley shooting is more egregious than the killing of Brown because of the allegation that Stockley planted a gun in Smith's auto.

The original incident report said Stockley and his partner saw what they believed to be a drug deal behind the Church's Chicken along Riverview Boulevard.

With Bianchi at the wheel, the officers chased Smith at speeds of more than 80 miles per hour before the crash, according to the criminal complaint.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Anthony Lamar Smith, as today's verdict fails to provide the justice they sought and the closure they seek".

Mr Stockley said he was retrieving some equipment to administer first aid. Stockley said he climbed into Smith's auto and found a revolver between the center console and passenger seat. Smith was fatally shot by St. Louis police in 2011 following a vehicle chase.

The highly anticipated verdict caused for preparations to be made outside of the courthouse.

Mayor Lyda Krewson said she was "appalled" in a statement. "It's very noble work", Gardner added.

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Smith was the father of a young daughter, as seen in the gallery. Gov. Eric Greitens says he's has put the National Guard on standby in case unrest breaks out.

As St. Louis Public Radio notes, "Stockley was the first officer in the St. Louis region to be charged for an on-the-job shooting since 2005". However, prosecutors said Stockley carried out his premeditated plans to kill Smith by shooting him within 6 inches of his body and planting a revolver in his auto, which was found to have only Stockley's DNA on it. Bruntrager said there was no visual evidence of Stockley with the gun prosecutors allege he planted. "Stockley was not wearing a jacket; if he had such a gun in his possession it would have been visible on the cell phone video".

Stockley was questioned why he had his personal rifle with him during the trial.

Stockley did not deny making the statement.

The dash camera video starts at a local fast food place.

When Stockley jumped out of his patrol auto, he was carrying his personal AK-47 style rifle. He also said Smith's "threat to society was so high, you have to do whatever you can to stop it". The bus moved less than a block before police in riot gear began pushing back the crowd. That was when Stockley retrieved the weapon, they argued.

Stockley's partner wasn't charged.

Stockley took the stand in his own defense during the trial.

After the killing, homicide detectives from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department deemed it justifiable. Bianchi never fired his weapon.

The trial ends, but Judge Wilson gives attorneys from both sides until August 18 to file post-trial briefs.

"No one promised a rose garden, and this surely is not one". And it imposes upon the state a very hard burden - and the state must then prove not only that you committed murder in the first degree, but that you didn't act in self defense.

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