As Black Lives Matter protests flared up anew across the country over the shooting death of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher at the hands of the Tulsa police, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provided new information related to an older a police killing case. And it was a bombshell, precisely because it provided verifiable proof that there are crooked police who will cover their tracks after committing a heinous and brutal act.
The info the Post published on Tuesday surround the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011. The officer who shot and killed him, Jason Stockley, was charged with first-degree murder earlier this year after the city’s Circuit Attorney said there was new evidence supporting the charge. Prior to Stockley being booked on murder charges, the police department reached a $900,000 settlement with Smith’s daughter in a civil suit.
The material released by the post appears to be related to the civil suit. A judge ordered the material to be sealed and denied the Post’s request earlier this summer when they tried to get them again following Stockley’s charge. (He is currently out on a million dollars bond, paid for by the St, Louis Police Officers’ Association. Stockley quit the force in 2013.) However, an anonymous source provided the paper with the court records, which included photos, videos and memos.
According to the videos and photos, from different sources such as a dashboard camera and witness’s cellphone, we are able to piece together the sequence of events.
Stockley and his partner Brian Bianchi (Bianchi has not been charged with anything and is still on the force) pull over Smith in a parking lot for a suspected drug deal. After some time, Smith peels off in his car, with Stockley shooting at his car. A high-speed chase entails and Stockley can be heard saying he’s going to shoot Smith when they catch up to him.
The chase ends when Bianchi rams the back of Smith’s car, leading to Smith’s vehicle deploying the side airbags. As Bianchi goes to check on Smith (with his gun still holstered), Stockley approaches the vehicle, along with a personally-owned AK-47 that he was not authorized to carry. After pulling back the deployed airbag, Stockley shoots into the vehicle five times with his handgun. (The AK-47 was not used.)
While backup officers descend on the scene, Stockley goes back to the police vehicle, where he has a duffel bag in the back seat. Apparently, the duffel bag is where he carried his personal firearms, such as the AK-47. After rummaging around in the bag, the police SUV’s cameras are conspicuously shut off. However, a bystander filming the incident from a nearby apartment catches the rest of the activity.
In that video, we see Stockley go into Smith’s vehicle as his body is removed, shortly after he seemed to retrieve something from the backseat of the SUV. Stockley would claim that he saw Smith pull a revolver when approached. However, the gun retrieved from Smith’s car, a .38 Taurus revolver, had only Stockley’s DNA on it.
While the Post was careful in their report not to say Stockley definitively planted the weapon, the evidence presented goes a long way towards confirming what Smith’s family and other members of the community have been saying for years now. With Smith’s DNA nowhere to be found on a gun he supposedly had been carrying and intended to shoot Stockley with, it is obvious the former officer tossed that in there from his personal supply.
And it makes you wonder — how many times did Stockley do this in the past? Did he learn this from others on the force? Is this still going on in St. Louis, even after two-plus years of protests following the Michael Brown killing?
Below is the entire video that the Post put together: