Missouri Congressman Lacy Clay, a Democrat, issued the following statement Friday on the acquittal of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley:
“Once again, another young Black man dies at the hands of a police officer…with no consequences.
Jason Stockley acted as judge, jury and executioner. He violated multiple department regulations, and he showed a total disregard for the life of my constituent, Anthony Lamar Smith.
Justice has been cruelly denied for Anthony Lamar Smith’s family and this community.
I stand in total solidarity with them in expressing my absolute outrage at this verdict.
Our communities need and respect good policing. A few bad apples denigrate the entire force and place officers and citizens unnecessarily in harm’s way when they meet. We must demand changes in local law enforcement to ensure all lives are respected and honored. There is no coming back after a life is taken, only sadness.
Black Lives Matter, and that declaration is not meant to diminish or denigrate the value of any other group,
It is simply an honest statement of the ugly and very painful truth that in America, in 2017, some lives are still worth more than other lives.
Our young people are outraged and angry about that…and so am I.
This tragic case also underscores the urgent, fundamental question that our nation, our state, and our community have thus far failed to honestly address…how do we transform local law enforcement and our criminal justice system to finally provide equal justice under the law for all…instead of just for some.
The federal legislation that I have already introduced could provide some of the answers because it would mandate increased sensitivity training for all police officers to help them deescalate potentially violent situations before they become deadly.
My bill also requires the appointment of an independent prosecutor in all instances when police use deadly force.
And my legislation incentivizes the use of body cameras by all local police departments who compete for Justice Department grants.
These transformative changes would make a huge difference in bridging the trust deficit that still divides many police officers from the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect.”