Stockley Trial

Timeline+of+the+events+of+the+Stockley+Trial

Samantha Banden

Timeline of the events of the Stockley Trial

The officers nervously barricade the city police headquarters, glancing in every direction for eager, passionate men and women. The protesters, on the other hand, wait patiently for the verdict. That is their cue to call attention to the matter at hand, the situation that they believe they know the right answer to. Missouri is no stranger to unrest, as recent events seem to repeat history. History that only happened a mere three years ago. Saturday, August 9, 2014, there was unrest within the streets of Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Riots colored the streets with flames and rage. Currently, there is unrest in the streets of St. Louis, based off of the verdict for the Stockley trial.

Just like the whole Ferguson trial, I feel like people are going to riot either way, whether he’s guilty or not. There’s no real way of knowing if Stockley is innocent or not, if the answer was obvious it wouldn’t be this long drawn out trial, but then again the decision doesn’t matter, it’s the reactions of the community that matter. If it turns into another explosion like Ferguson, that would be ridiculous.”

— Senior Chandler Westfall

Former policeman Jason Stockley has been acquitted on all charges of killing Anthony Lamar Smith during a car chase back in 2011. The trial began August 1, 2017, the delay due to lack of evidence found until recently, which contained audio and video clips to further enhance the prosecution’s argument.The trial ended on August 9 with closing arguments. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson on date, established Jason Stockley as not guilty.

Of course, I’m disappointed with the court’s decision,” Attorney Kimberly Gardner said, according to riverfronttimes.com. “As the Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis, I remain committed to holding people accountable for violating the law, regardless of their race, gender, occupation, or station in life.”

Stockley pleaded not guilty and said his actions were out of self defense. After shooting Smith, the defense claimed Stockley reached back to receive a quick clot pack to stop the bleeding. However, the prosecution claimed that was when Stockley grabbed the gun, according to KMOV.com

This shooting happened three years prior to the events of Ferguson, and Stockley was charged with first degree murder in May 2016 after finding new evidence. Evidence showed that during the car chase between Stockley and Smith, Stockley told his partner, Bianchi, to “hit him right now” before getting out of the vehicle, Stockley quoted he was going to, “Kill this (explicit),” according to CNN.com.

After approaching Smith in his car, Stockley claims he began to reach for a handgun between the center console and the passenger seat, and was forced to shoot Smith in the chest.

Students around West have been following this movement, captivated by what may happen next.

“Just like the whole Ferguson trial, I feel like people are going to riot either way, whether he’s guilty or not,” senior Chandler Westfall said. “There’s no real way of knowing if Stockley is innocent or not, if the answer was obvious it wouldn’t be this long drawn out trial, but then again the decision doesn’t matter, it’s the reactions of the community that matter. If it turns into another explosion like Ferguson, that would be ridiculous.”

However, it is not just students who are informed about the happenings within St. Louis, teachers are tuning in as well and giving their two cents.

Protest is fine and is a first amendment right.”government teacher John Cunningham said. “That protest however, must be peaceful. Any unlawful acts do not fall under the guise of peaceful protest. It is hard to judge what was in [Stockley’s]  mind. I also was not in the courtroom. People form an opinion often on speculation and the biases they hold. For this matter to get Ferguson level attention would mean an equal or greater level of unrest and another black eye that the state and the region don’t need. Should the verdict displease people, I would hope cooler heads prevail and any protest would be within the bounds of the law and people’s Constitutional rights. I don’t want to see people hurt, businesses damaged, and the region face further negative impact.”