The latest acquittal of a white police officer in St. Louis reflects a pattern of policing that denies equal citizenship to the area’s black residents.
The protests that have roiled St. Louis since the acquittal last week of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 murder of Anthony Lamar Smith are—in one respect—animated by the palpable injustice of the case. The trial judge gave little weight to Stockley’s declaration, during his pursuit of Smith, that he was “going to kill this motherfucker.” He accepted without hesitation or reservation Stockley’s claim to be acting in self-defense. He whistled past strong circumstantial evidence that Stockley planted a weapon in Smith’s car after the shooting. He made little of chilling detail that Stockley, in addition to his service weapon, was brandishing a personal AK-47 in defiance of departmental regulations. And he punctuated his ruling with the gratuitous aside, on the question of whether Smith was armed, “that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.” Read More at Dissent