ST. LOUIS – The mayor of St. Louis says the city is “on edge” as it awaits a ruling in the first-degree murder trial of former police officer Jason Stockley, in part because of a troubled history of justice in St. Louis and nationwide.
Stockley is accused of fatally shooting Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. The case was heard last month but it’s unclear when Judge Timothy Wilson will rule.
Activists have threatened civil disobedience if Stockley, who is white, is acquitted in the death of the black suspect.
In a statement and video released Tuesday, Mayor Lyda Krewson says part of the reason for the uneasiness is that legal decisions in the St. Louis region and elsewhere have often left families and even entire communities with a sense that justice wasn’t served.
Mayor Lyda Krewson issued this transcript from a video posted to YouTube Tuesday:
“Good Morning…. I’d like to visit with you for a minute about the pending Stockley case.
The newscasts, newspapers, blogs, and social media are filled with speculation about when and what the verdict will be in the Stockley case.
I don’t know that. I don’t know the verdict and I don’t know when it will come. But I do know that there’s a lot of anxiety and worry in our community as we wait for that decision.
We stand, again, on edge — awaiting a legal decision that will have a major impact on the lives of many. People who are our neighbors, our sons, our dads and our friends. We’re are on edge because we have watched, in this country and in our region, that legal decisions can and do result in families and sometimes entire communities being left without a sense of justice. That can and has resulted in protests and demonstrations.
Regardless of the outcome in this case, we have piles of data, stacks of reports, and stories from our friends and neighbors that tell us that St. Louis is in need of healing. The worry and anxiety we are feeling today is not without cause, and it did not start with Ferguson. It has its roots in the story of our country. I hope we will all learn more about the laws and policies that closed the doors for some, while leaving them open for others.
We now live in a time where the tensions caused by those laws and those policies affect us all in our daily lives. It affects us in different ways, but we must all recognize and address the history that is present at our feet.
It is our choice now to continue to yell past each other and keep our minds closed or to consider how we might acknowledge what we’ve inherited and what we perpetuate and how we might learn about it, and how to choose a different way forward.
These are our neighbors, our fellow citizens, our co-workers. Without all of us working to acknowledge and understand this history — how we hurt, how we heal and how we help each other — we won’t grow as individuals, as a community, as a city, or as a region.
So as we await this legal decision, please don’t let the anxiety, the worry, and the pain determine how we treat each other. Try to understand the reactions of others. Be open to what we don’t understand in others’ reactions. Ask ourselves how we might feel if it were our son, daughter, mother, father, or friend at the center of this legal decision. Ask ourselves if we can turn this anxiety and distrust into something constructive.
I am asking what can I do? What can I learn? I hope you will join me.
Thank you for listening. My thoughts are with each and every St. Louisan today.”