Demonstrators hit street after acquittal of ex- St. Louis officer

16 September, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Brenda Erickson
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Forty-five seconds later, he fatally shot Smith. "What prosecutors worked to do was present evidence in court that they believe proved Stockley violated Missouri law when he shot Smith and then planted a gun in Smith's vehicle to justify the killing".

The court did not set a public date for its verdict, and Stockley waived his right to trial by jury. "People say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations".

"The Court does not believe that Stockley's conduct immediately following the end of the pursuit is consistent with the conduct of a person intentionally killing another person unlawfully", Wilson wrote. Stockley said over the police radio that Smith, fired a gun. Missouri law requires that prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley was NOT acting in self-defense or the defense of others when he killed Smith. The former policeman, who was arrested in May 2016, was accused of planting a gun in Smith's auto but testified he acted in self-defense.

However, Smith's fiancee, Christina Wilson, spoke at a press conference with the governor Thursday, urging protesters to remain peaceful.

Hundreds of protesters are making their voices heard today in St. Louis in response to the verdict.

Prosecutor Kimberly Gardner said she was disappointed with the verdict and called on protesters to avoid violence.

"I'm sad, I'm hurt, I'm mad", the Reverend Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis told Reuters by telephone.

Greitens put the National Guard on standby in the days leading up to the verdict as a precautionary step ahead of possible unrest. The judge said that due to unintelligible portions of the recording, it's impossible to know the context that surrounded the remark. "We ask that citizens who choose to demonstrate, do so peacefully".

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"We must judge the credibility and reasonableness of Stockley's actions through the simultaneous actions of Officer Bianchi's", the prosecution noted in its argument.

The.38 calibre revolver recovered from the Buick had Mr Stockley's DNA on it, but not Mr Smith's.

"In this instance, even though the allegation was murder in the first degree, we successfully inject the issue of self-defense", Bruntrager said.

About 30 seconds later, Stockley testified that he ordered his partner to hit Smith's auto and end the pursuit because the suspect had just driven into oncoming traffic and threatened other people. Both officers got out, Stockley carrying a duty pistol and an AK-47 rifle, which he wasn't permitted to carry by the department.

Gardner wants independent investigations of officer-involved shootings.

Stockley originally said he wanted to kill Smith - whom police had pursued on suspicion of him taking part in a drug deal - in the wake of a vehicle chase that lasted for around three miles before he and his fellow officers caught up to Smith.

Barricades were placed around the civil and criminal courthouses as well as the police department to prepare for protests.

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