ST. LOUIS – Community activists and clergy members are planning to protest what they believe will be a not guilty verdict in the murder trial of Jason Stockley. The former St. Louis Police officer waived his right to a jury trial. A judge is expected to announce his verdict soon but there’s been no announcement indication when. Stockley shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in December of 2011.
“When the verdict comes down we’re ready to respond,” said Rev. Clinton Stancil, Wayman AME Church.
The church was the site of a strategy session Tuesday night for community members wanting to get involved in any demonstrations. Clinton said clergy members were joining forces with community activists to make sure they were on the same page with protest strategies.
“We’re not going to be destructive but we will be disruptive,” he said.
“We’re stopping money,” said community activist Michael Hassell. “If that means we got to walk around a Cardinals game so no one can get in, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Stockley testified during his trial and said he had the right to use deadly force. He and his partner suspected Smith of being part of a drug deal. Smith sped away. Stockley and his partner gave chase.
Stockley was recorded on a police camera during that chase saying he was going to kill that expletive. Stockley eventually shot Smith.
“To me that’s murder,” said Hassell.
Stockley testified Smith had a gun. A gun was recovered from the car Smith was driving but it did not contain Smith’s DNA. The gun did contain Stockley’s DNA. Stockley said he unloaded the gun he found in Smith’s car after the shooting to ensure it was safe. His defense said that would explain the DNA.
Video from the police vehicle shows Stockley rummaging through a duffel bag. Another video taken by someone watching from the 2nd floor of a nearby building showed Stockley then entering Smith’s car.
Some of those who believe Stockley is guilty believe he planted a gun in Smith’s car. Stockley’s defense has maintained he grabbed blood clotting material from his police vehicle to try and stop Smith’s bleeding.