St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley was found NOT GUILTY of murdering an innocent St. Louis man Anthony Lamar Smith, and planting a gun on the scene of the crime, even though there appeared to be video evidence showing exactly that.
Here is the evidence, that most observers believe was enough to convict the officer:
The Board of the Ethical Society of Police a non-partisan group offered its reasons why they disagreed with the verdict. Here is what they said:
The Board of the Ethical Society of Police (E.S.O.P.) believes that the great majority of officers within the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) and around the world behave in a manner befitting of officers. However, when we as officers disregard internal policies and the laws we’ve sworn to uphold we must be held accountable. We aren’t above the law.
The board of the E.S.O.P. believes the case against former SLMPD Officer, Jason Stockley warrants a conviction, because of physical evidence, circumstantial evidence, questionable tactics, and numerous violations of SLMPD policies/procedures.
1. Officer Jason Stockley advised Anthony Lamar Smith “knocked him sideways”on the Church’s Chicken parking lot after Stockley and his partner, Brian Bianchi attempted to stop Smith for an alleged drug transaction. The video appears to show Smith hurriedly fleeing the officers and brushing Stockley’s unauthorized AK-47, causing Stockley to slightly lose his balance.
2. Stockley shoots at Smith’s fleeing vehicle. He didn’t shoot Smith with the AK-47, despite stating his life and his partner’s life was in danger. Stockley transitioned to his beretta instead.
3. Stockley stated his partner, Officer Brian Bianchi, yelled, “gun!”while on the Church’s Chicken parking lot. Bianchi holstered his weapon after allegedly yelling “gun!” That’s not a normal reaction of a law enforcement officer facing a subject that’s allegedly pointing a handgun at them, their partner, or reaching for a handgun. Video in fact, shows Bianchi’s weapon is holstered a second time when Stockley kills Smith.
4. Stockley stated at the trial Smith pointed a gun at him while he (Smith) was fleeing from the Church's Chicken lot.
Smith, according to Stockley, was able to point a handgun at him while steering the vehicle and while maneuvering the gear shifts in reverse/drive on the Church’s Chicken parking lot.
5. Stockley is armed with an AK-47. This isn’t an authorized weapon. Carrying this weapon while on duty is a violation of Department policy.
6. Stockley’s Sergeant had advised him on a prior occasion not to come to work with the unauthorized AK-47, and Stockley stated he ignored the direct order because of the increasing violence in the City of St. Louis.
7. Stockley shoots at a fleeing vehicle. This is a violation of SLMPD’s Use of Force policy. We are not supposed to shoot at moving vehicles.
8. Bianchi drives at speeds in excess of 80 mph as he pursues Smith, whom is also driving at/or around the same speeds in slick and rainy conditions during midday traffic. When conditions become too unreasonable for safe driving the vehicle pursuit policy indicates we should end the pursuit. At one point, Bianchi lost control of the police vehicle and struck a fixed object.
9. Neither Bianchi or Stockley were heard on the police radio stating Smith was armed. Stockley did state “shots fired.” However, at trial Stockley stated he did tell the dispatcher Smith was armed, but he claimed the radio transmission and his partner, Officer Bianchi were the problem with hearing him.
10. During the pursuit, Jason Stockley told his partner, “We're going to kill this motherfucker!” In trial, Stockley stated he had “no recollection” of saying these words despite it being his voice.
11. After stating “We’re going to kill this motherfucker!” Stockley ultimately directs Bianchi to strike Smith’s vehicle to end the pursuit. After the accident the vehicles stop. Intentionally ramming or striking a vehicle is a violation of SLMPD policy, and Officers aren’t taught to use any such maneuvers during a vehicle pursuit.
12. Stockley and Bianchi exit their police vehicle and approach Smith. Smith is shot by Stockley, who raised the airbag to shoot Smith. Stockley stated he believed Smith was reaching for a handgun. Brian Bianchi doesn’t shoot Smith. Bianchi’s gun is holstered. Stockley didn’t shoot Smith with the AK-47, despite stating his life and his partner’s life was in danger. Stockley decided to again transition to his beretta.
13. Stockley ultimately killed Smith, about 45 seconds after making the, “We’re going to kill this motherfucker!” statement. His words, then actions appear calculated, and premeditated. It is not out of the norm for fleeing suspects to surrender after initially resisting an officer.
14. After Stockley shot Smith, he advised he thought Smith was still alive and went to his patrol vehicle to retrieve “quick clot,” to assist with the bleeding and to secure his AK-47. Neither Stockley or Bianchi immediately secured the vehicle Smith was in with an alleged handgun inside of it. Officers are taught to immediately secure anyone that’s a suspect, for safety reasons. Neither Stockley or Bianchi felt the need to immediately secure someone Stockley and Bianchi claimed was armed. Stockley returned to his patrol car more than once with Smith allegedly armed with a handgun inside of a running vehicle. Numerous officers (8-9 other officers) stood around while Smith was in the car.
15. On one occasion, Stockley is seen on video giving a head nod to his Sergeant before going back to the police car. In the Sergeant’s memorandum to Homicide and his statement to the FBI he directed officers away from the vehicle to monitor a crowd that allegedly became large and hostile. The video shows the crowd was minimal.
16. On one occasion, when Stockley is inside of the police car, his back blocks some of the police In Car Camera view of him reaching into his work bag. Stockley completes this task from the rear driver’s side of his police vehicle, not the rear passenger side, where his bag is seated. Stockley stated at his trial he grabbed his “quick clot” from his work bag to aid Smith’s bleeding. A direct route to his bag with the “quick clot” would’ve been from the rear passenger side door. If Stockley would’ve retrieved items from the rear passenger side viewers would’ve presumably seen his actions better. Stockley stated he put the “quick clot” inside of a pocket after retrieving it from his bag. Stockley never renders aid to Smith with the “quick clot.”
17. Two of the first Officers on the scene advised of not seeing a gun in the vehicle with Smith. One of those officers is observed on video helping to remove Smith from the vehicle.
18. Former SLMPD Officer, Jason Stockley advised his partner, Officer Brian Bianchi, turned off the in car camera. This is a violation of SLMPD’s In Car Camera policy.
19. Stockley and Bianchi’s Sergeant should’ve immediately separated them per SLMPD procedures for Officer Involved Shootings. Stockley and Bianchi were allowed to walk through the scene contaminating evidence by searching the vehicle Smith was in and repeatedly returning to their patrol car. Stockley and Bianchi’s Sergeant had been on the scenes of other officer involved shootings, but failed to abide by the policy. Failing to separate the officers is a violation of SLMPD procedures.
20. The only DNA on the handgun belonged to Officer Jason Stockley. Stockley’s DNA was located underneath a screw. Stockley didn’t have on gloves when he made direct contact with the revolver. Stockley’s defense for the absence of Anthony Lamar Smith’s DNA was, “DNA is a very bizarre substance.” Stockley contaminated the scene by searching Smith’s vehicle with his bare hands. That’s a violation of SLMPD policy for preserving evidence.
In court, Stockley further stated it’s difficult to search while wearing gloves. SLMPD officers are taught in the Police Academy to search vehicles with gloves to prevent evidence from becoming contaminated. This is a normal law enforcement practice.
Stockley indicated at the trial he had a general idea of where he thought Smith’s alleged weapon was located. There was no need to search the vehicle. Stockley’s Sergeant advised he allowed Stockley to remove the gun because he was fearful someone from the large crowd would remove the evidence. Video evidence indicated there wasn’t a large crowd as his Sergeant stated in his original memorandum to SLMPD. Therefore, there was no real threat of evidence within the car being removed by someone from the crowd.
21. Stockley denied telling the FBI he had a small case in his work bag, which was small enough to fit a gun inside of the case.
Stockley advised some of the FBI’s report about his interview was inaccurate. Stockley further stated FBI summary reports are often inadmissible in court because their reports can be inaccurate.