Trial Starts For Former St. Louis Officer Jason Stockley
On December 20, 2011, 24-year old Anthony Lamar Smith was pulled over by St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on suspicion of making a drug deal. Anthony took off in a rented Buick. Against policy, Stockley shot at the fleeing car. Dash cam video shows that Anthony slowed down. Stockley called for another officer to “hit” the car driven by Anthony, and that officer, Brian Bianchi, did just that.
Footage from three recordings obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows Stockley walking to Anthony’s rented Buick. One recording was from a cell phone, and at least one other was from a store’s surveillance camera.
The impact of being hit by the police SUV resulted in the Buick’s side curtain air bags engaging, blocking part of the view from the dashboard’s camera. Bianchi is seen reaching into the Buick with his gun still in its holster. Stockley is seen with an AK=47, and his head is bobbing up and down as if he was lifting the curtain as well.
Stockley shot 5 times. Officer Bianchi suddenly backed away as if he was not expecting the gunshots.
Stockley is seen taking his personal AK-47 back to his SUV and putting it into the backseat. Stockley then returned to the Buick that was driven by Anthony. St. Louis Today reports that according to officials, Stockley was not authorized to carry the rifle, which he personally owned.
Inside dashcam recorded Stockley going into a duffle bag in the back seat, and subsequently leave the SUV with nothing in his hands.
After other officers removed Anthony’s body from the Buick, Stuckley is seen crawling inside the Buick.
Stockley said that he shot Anthony because Anthony disobeyed his commands to show his hands and he believed Anthony was reaching for a gun that was found in Anthony’s car.
According to Stockley’s father, Jason Stockley attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served a 15-month tour in Iraq with the Army. He attributed the sudden charges against his son to “a change in the country, which is frightening”.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN 6 YEARS
You can no doubt guess that much happened in the 6 years between December 2011 and July 2017.
There was an Internal Affairs investigation into the shooting.
In 2011, Stockley told Internal Affairs Investigators that he returned to the SUV to get a first-aid kit. The investigators deciding that .38-caliber Taurus revolver was found in the Buick, found the shooting justified.
A lab analysis of the revolver found that the only DNA on the gun was from Stockley.
In 2013, Stockley resigned his position with the St. Louis Police Department. He moved to Houston, Texas.
Anthony’s Estate filed a civil suit on behalf of Anthony’s young daughter. The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners settled the case for $900k.
According to court records, during the chase, Stockley is recorded saying, “Going to kill that mother(expletive), don’t you know it.”
In August 2016, Stockley was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury. He is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Stockley was arrested and held in Texas with no bail until he was extradited from Houston, Texas to St. Louis, MO. by the U.S. Marshall. He was arraigned and placed on a million dollar bail. The bail was secured by the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association. Stockley is staying with relatives in Illinois until the completion of trial.
Originally, jurors were to be selected from a pool of 150 people and be sequestered at an undisclosed location. Stockley’s attorney’s request for a change of venue was denied by the court. Stockley has waived his right to a trial by jury and is having a bench trial.
At a press conference, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce stated:
“I’m disappointed because I know what fine public servants the vast majority of police officers are, and this kind of conduct on the part of this former officer doesn’t reflect the excellent work I see from them every day. So it’s disappointing in that regard, but it’s important that people understand that if you commit a crime, and we have the evidence to prove it, it doesn’t matter to us what you do for a living. Our job is to hold people accountable if we have the evidence. And in this case, we do.”
The judge has ordered no cameras in the courtroom. I will look today to see if a reporter is reporting on the trial and if so, the information will be posted in the comment section below.
St. Louis Today; No cameras