TheDenverChannel.com National News Partner

In St. Louis, Officer Acquittal Follows A Familiar Pattern

Protesters demonstrated in the streets after a judge found former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley not guilty in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. 

Stockley shot and killed Smith after a high-speed chase. In a video, Stockley can be heard saying he was going to kill Smith. Prosecutors say Stockley planted a gun on Smith, and the only gun found on the scene had Stockley's DNA on it. He was later charged with first-degree murder in 2016.

SEE MORE: Why Race Isn't Part Of A National Police Crime Database

"I just hope justice [is] served," Annie Smith, mother of Anthony Lamar Smith, said. 

Although many, like Smith's mother, were hoping for a guilty verdict, protesters were ready to demonstrate in case of the opposite outcome — which could've been expected. 

According to data from Dr. Philip Stinson at Bowling Green State University, there are around 1,000 officer-involved shootings in the U.S. each year. Since 2005, 80 officers have been charged in fatal on-duty shootings. Only 35 percent have been convicted. 

SEE MORE: Should Police Ever Shoot At Moving Cars?

Convictions are rare in cases of fatal police shootings because, according to legal experts, it's tough to dispute a law enforcement officer's split-second decision-making, among other factors. 

The judge in this case, Timothy Wilson, even alluded to the high bar for conviction in a first-degree murder trial in his 30-page decision, saying that one must "knowingly [cause] the death of another person after deliberation upon the matter." 


Trending stories at Newsy.com

Comments
Watch Newsy Everywhere

Mobile Apps

See All Apps
download newsy apple download newsy android

Streaming TV Devices

See All Devices
stream newsy roku stream newsy amazon stream newsy apple tv