Missouri Judge Acquits Ex-Cop Jason Stockton of Murdering Black Motorist

Missouri Judge Acquits Ex-Cop Jason Stockton of Murdering Black Motorist

READ: St. Louis Residents React to Yet Another Local Police Shooting: 'Who Can You Trust?'

"Stockley then approached Smith's vehicle on the driver's side and shot five times into the auto, striking the victim Anthony Smith with each shot", former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said a year ago.

In the report, Stockley said he entered Smith's vehicle "to locate the weapon and render it safe", and removed the ammunition from the silver revolver.

Smith was shot five times in his auto after trying to flee Stockley and his partner, following an alleged drug deal, authorities said. The problem is, Jason Stockley never said that. The decision by Judge Timothy Wilson was announced by a circuit attorney press release, per the Riverfront Times, after previous remarks by activists there would be "mass disruption" if Stockley was acquitted. Prosecutors objected to his request for a bench trial.

Wilson acquitted Stockley on Friday, saying in his ruling that the state failed to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley did not act in self-defense".

Stockley waived his right to a jury trial, meaning the decision rested exclusively with St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson. The then-officer shot at Smith's auto during the chase, apparently screaming, "I'm going to kill this motherfucker, don't you know it!" Three officers were taken to hospital.

In an interview with Post-Dispatch after the acquittal, Stockley said he felt like "a burden has been lifted".

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

Stockley has since resigned from the St. Louis police department.

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Efforts at civil disobedience were largely unsuccessful. Police are working 12-hour shifts, starting Friday.

There was a renewed call for peace as nightfall approached and a reminder that officers were not out there for themselves: they're protecting everyone else, protesters included.

At times, things escalated.

St Louis police in riot gear block a street in the heart of town against rampaging protesters.

They also hit officers with water bottles and other items leading to the arrest of at least 13 protesters.

There were also reports of police using pepper spray on demonstrators.

Protests and clashes broke out after a grand jury cleared the officer, giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. They gathered near the Carnahan Courthouse and began marching in the streets. The group tried marching on to I-64 again, but police blocked their path. Some demonstrators burned an American flag as others cheered.

Protest activity in the Central West End focused on Mayor Krewson's home, which saw windows broken and paint thrown at it. Officers used tear gas to try to move the crowd out of the area.