Protesters decry verdict
A ST LOUIS, Missouri judge has found a white former police officer not guilty of murdering a black man after a high-speed chase in 2011, in a closely watched case that comes amid continuing racial tensions in the US.
Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson said prosecutors had failed to prove “every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt” or to show persuasively that defendant Jason Stockley had not acted in selfdefence when he shot and killed suspected drug dealer Anthony Lamar Smith. The case has drawn intense attention in St Louis, where racial tensions have been high since the 2014 killing of a black man in the suburb of Ferguson by a white police officer.
Demonstrators quickly gathered Friday near the courthouse to protest the verdict, though police said they so far had been peaceful. Some people locked arms, chanting “No justice, no peace.”
“I pray for my city, man, because people are tired of this,” Michael Brown told CNN. His son, also Michael Brown, was the man killed in the 2014 Ferguson shooting. The white officer in that case was cleared of wrongdoing.
Police later used tear gas on some demonstrators who damaged public and private property. Twentythree arrests were made, and 10 officers were hurt, St Louis police said.
St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson issued a statement yesterday saying: “I am appalled at what happened to Anthony Lamar Smith. I am sobered by this outcome.” She urged the people of her midwestern city to come together, adding, “We rise and fall together.”
Law enforcement officers stand guard during a protest action following a not guilty verdict for a white policeman in St Louis, Missouri.