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Chief appeals for calm after Stockley’s acquittal

ST. LOUIS (AP) _St. Louis interim police chief Lawrence O’Toole is asking that people upset with the acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer in the shooting death of a black man demonstrate peacefully.

In a statement released shortly after the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley was announced Friday, Chief Lawrence O’Toole says the department understands that emotions are running high but that the judge’s verdict should be respected.

Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase in 2011.

O’Toole says his department’s top priority is protecting and serving citizens. He says the department is committed to protecting free speech rights but is also committed to upholding the city’s laws.