Socialist Worker

Anger in Missouri after verdict ‘lets cop get away with murder’

Cop walks free despite evidence that suggests he planted a gun—leading thousands to join angry protests, reports Mark Longden in St Louis

Issue No. 2572

A poster calls for the conviction of cop Jason Stockley

A poster calls for the conviction of cop Jason Stockley (Pic: Flickr/Jon Phillips)


The US city of St Louis, Missouri, erupted in anger on Friday of last week. There were protests after a judge found cop Jason Stockley not guilty of murdering Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. 

The space outside the courthouse was occupied within an hour of the verdict being announced. The National Guard was called in, and proceeded to kettle protesters and make arrests.

A march around the city later in the day was huge and grew bigger as it went. Publicity for it read, “If you thought they’d never let another cop get away with a murder this blatant, then get angry!”

Windows were smashed at Democrat mayor Lyda Krewson’s house when the demonstation paused there. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets.

Marchers took refuge in a synagogue then went on to St Louis University. The chant, “Out of the dorms and onto the streets” brought students out.

Protests continued all weekend. 

Annie Smith, Anthony’s mother, addressed a protest outside the main police station on Sunday. It grew to some 4,000 people.

Protesters confronted a cop in the process of arresting two people and forced him to flee. Some 80 people were arrested on Sunday and 32 on Saturday.

Killed 

Black people in the US are more than twice as likely as whites to be killed by police. The Washington Post newspaper has recorded 697 people who have died at the hands of the police so far this year. 

Police radio recordings appear to show Stockley saying he would “kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it.” Anthony was shot six times, the last at a range of six inches. 

Police footage shows him being dragged from his car, already dead. 

Stockley then appears to retrieve something from a duffel bag in his car before entering the car. The prosecution alleged that Stockley planted a gun in Anthony’s car.

A gun found in Anthony’s car had only Stockley’s DNA on it. Judge Timothy Wilson didn’t let this stop him saying that “an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly”.

Shockingly, none of this was enough to deliver a guilty verdict. 

Police only have to demonstrate a “perceived threat” before they open fire. The system that allows cops to murder black people with impunity needs to be changed. 


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