Protesters damage police car in St. Louis
Here are the events leading up to and after the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith by then-police officer Jason Stockley, according to the verdict by Judge Timothy J. Wilson. The judge’s not-guilty verdict on the charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action was released on Friday morning.
Dec. 20, 2011:
▪ Anthony Smith drove a silver Buick into a parking space at Church’s Fried Chicken with Kirkwin Taylor. He left the engine running and windshield wipers going.
▪ Taylor went to the back of the restaurant and urinated. Smith went back and forth from the restaurant to the vehicle, reaching into the vehicle, but not holding a bag of food.
▪ A marked police vehicle approached, and Smith ran into the car. and Officers Stockley and Brian Bianchi approached the car.
▪ Smith drove the Buick backward into the police vehicle, pulled forward, and drove backward to strike it again. The collisions were enough to slam shut the police car’s driver-side door and to force the vehicle into another car, which “could be seen to rock back and forth on the surveillance video.”
▪ Stockley had his gun drawn.
▪ Smith drove away, striking Stockley’s hand.
▪ Bianchi swung his gun at the driver’s door, breaking the window. Stockley testified that he saw a gun on the passenger front seat as the Buick left, and that Bianchi yelled “gun” when Bianchi broke the window.
▪ Stockley fired his gun at the Buick. The verdict does not specify if or where the shots struck.
▪ Stockley and Bianchi got in the police vehicle and began to chase Smith’s Buick.
▪ Smith reached speeds of 87 mph on wet roads. “The police pursuit was in response to Smith’s perilous conduct,” the verdict read, and lasted about 3 minutes.
▪ Smith drove into oncoming traffic. The Buick’s airbags deployed. The police vehicle, driven by Bianchi, bumped the rear of the Buick.
▪ “It is apparent from the dash cam video recording, which includes audio from inside the police vehicle, that this pursuit was a stressful event,” the verdict read, citing Bianchi’s difficulty in following the Buick, that the police vehicle hit a sign and a tree during the pursuit, and had to back up to continue the pursuit.
▪ A little after 2 minutes into the pursuit, Stockley said, “we’re killing this (expletive), don’t you know.”
▪ The Buick stopped next to and perpendicular to the curb; the police SUV stopped parallel to the curb with the front next to the rear of the Buick.
▪ A witness, Antonio French, sees the two officers approach the car.
▪ Bianchi runs to the driver’s side of the Buick and leans to the driver’s window.
▪ Stockley approaches and bends over at the driver’s window.
▪ The SUV’s dash cam video shows just above the Buick, “it cannot be seen what is occurring inside the car.”
▪ The judge said “It appears that Stockley is wrestling with something or someone at the window.”
▪ Stockley appears to remove his gun from the holster, and Bianchi “suddenly backs up.”
▪ French hears one officer shout, “open the (expletive) door, open the (expletive) door.”
▪ Stockley fires into the vehicle. The dash cam does not show where Stockley’s gun is when it is fired in relation to Smith.
▪ French begins taking video with his cellphone. He could not see inside the car.
▪ Another witness, Monte Jodeh, testified about the crash, that officers were at the driver’s door, that the officers became “startled” and he heard four or five shots.
▪ Police Officer Elijah Simpson arrived and saw Shockley and Bianchi with guns drawn; he did not see or hear the gunshots. He heard Stockley order the driver to show his hands.
▪ Police officer John Baumgartner arrived several minutes after the shooting. He was told to recover the gun from the Buick. He said a bag of narcotics, later determined to be heroin, was recovered.
May 30, 2012:
▪ Stockley is interviewed by the FBI.
Aug. 8, 2016:
▪ Stockley is charged with armed criminal action and first-degree murder.
Sept. 15, 2017:
▪ Stockley is found not guilty of criminal charges.
▪ Protesters soon begin gathering near the courthouse and beyond. Some attempt to block traffic; police wore riot gear and several large employers in downtown St. Louis sent employees home early. Bystanders blocked in by protesters seemed supportive of the protests. By evening, police had made 33 arrests for disruptive behavior or damaging property. Later, there were reports that some protesters had thrown water bottles at police, who responded with pepper spray.
Sept. 16, 2017:
▪ Daytime protests were peaceful. Later, protesters threw rocks and paint at police clad in riot gear and damaged five police cars. More than 20 businesses on the Delmar Loop in University City were damaged. Police made 19 arrests, mostly in University City.
After the Saturday night protests, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said police arrested vandals and would continue to do so. “These aren’t protesters, these are criminals,” he said.
Sept. 17, 2017:
▪ Protests began peacefully outside of police headquarters, and organizers declared it a success and asked protesters to go home. Later protesters broke windows and pulled plants from downtown containers. Police said they were sprayed with a chemical. Police responded to the later protests in riot gear and made at least seven arrests.
Sept. 18, 2017
▪ Students started an organized protest started in front of University City High School. Some protest organizers say they planned to cause disruptions in traffic and demonstrate near businesses again.