Ac­quit­tal of ex-po­lice of­fi­cer sparks protests

Manila Bulletin - - World News -

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A white for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer was ac­quit­ted Fri­day in the 2011 death of a black man who was fa­tally shot fol­low­ing a high-speed chase, and hun­dreds of demon­stra­tors streamed into the streets of down­town St. Louis and later an up­scale neigh­bor­hood to protest the ver­dict that had stirred fears of civil un­rest for weeks.

Ahead of the ac­quit­tal, ac­tivists had threat­ened civil dis­obe­di­ence if Jason Stock­ley were not con­victed, in­clud­ing pos­si­ble ef­forts to shut down high­ways. Bar­ri­cades went up last month around po­lice head­quar­ters, the court­house where the trial was held and other po­ten­tial protest sites. Protesters were march­ing within hours of the de­ci­sion.

More than a dozen ar­rests were made, and sev­eral of­fi­cers were hurt as the day went on.

The case played out not far from the sub­urb of Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, which was the scene of the fa­tal shoot­ing of Michael Brown, the un­armed black 18-year-old who was killed by a white po­lice of­fi­cer in 2014. That of­fi­cer was never charged and even­tu­ally re­signed.

Stock­ley, who was charged with first-de­gree mur­der, in­sisted he saw 24-year-old An­thony La­mar Smith hold­ing a gun and felt he was in im­mi­nent dan­ger. Prose­cu­tors said the of­fi­cer planted a gun in Smith’s car af­ter the shoot­ing.

AN­GRY MOB – Po­lice are on guard as protesters gather, Septem­ber 15, in St. Louis, Mis­souri, af­ter a judge found a white for­mer St. Louis po­lice of­fi­cer, Jason Stock­ley, not guilty of first-de­gree mur­der in the death of a black man, An­thony La­mar Smith, who was fa­tally shot fol­low­ing a high-speed chase in 2011. (AP)

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