The Ghosts of St. Louis Future

Maxwell, William J.

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/11/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21701

Maxwell provides an analysis of the court decision by Judge Timothy J. Wilson's acquital of Jason Stockley, the white St. Louis cop charged with the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith (a 24-year-old African American).



A .38 revolver found in Smith's car -- the reason for Stockley's fusillade, or so said Stockley -- coated with DNA, all of which matched the officer, and none his victim. To top it off, Stockley admitted that he had used a third handgun, a department-issued Baretta, to take potshots at Smith's fleeing car as it cleared the parking lot.

In the words of one retired St. Louis detective, a friend of a friend not known for exaggeration, the whole fishy and brutal scene testified that Smith had been executed by a classic "rogue cop." But no part of the scene was sufficient to find Stockley guilty.

Because the accused officer (wisely) opted for a bench trial rather than a jury of St. Louis peers, we have access to an unusually detailed and revealing record of how his case was decided, and how the criterion of reasonable doubt becomes fully unreasonable in a legal system evidently convinced that white policemen deserve unequal protection under the law. (For your information, St. Louis's Black police union -- the city is sufficiently divided to require two-- publicly called for Stockley's conviction, concluding that "[h]e wasn't defending himself in the line of duty.")
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