There are 2 types of people that are drawn to a career enforcing the law as a police officer. The first are the brave men and women who genuinely want to make the world a better place and are willing to risk their lives for complete strangers. The second are the ones that give police officers a bad name. They’re the ones who like feeling powerful and abuse the power entrusted to them.
On December 20, 2011, a police officer from the St. Louis Police Department shot a father at point-blank range. An investigation was immediately opened to figure out what kind of cop he really was, however, none of the evidence seemed to matter to the judge when he announced the verdict…
The Alleged Drug Deal
On December 20, 2011, Officer Jason Stockley and his partner, Officer Brian Bianchi, from the St. Louis Police Department were on duty when they noticed 2 men who appeared to be making a drug deal in the parking lot of a Church’s Fried Chicken in St. Louis, Missouri.
Officers Stockley and Bianchi pulled over in their police SUV and approached Anthony Lamar Smith and the other man they believed were exchanging drugs. However, as they approached, Anthony drove his car forward into a building and then quickly reversed into the police vehicle before fleeing the scene…
A High-Speed Car Chase
Stockley fired his gun several times as Anthony drove away and then he and Bianchi jumped back into their vehicle to chase after Anthony. For the next 3 minutes, Anthony led the officers on a high-speed car chase through the city. At times, the cars were flying through the city streets at over 80 miles per hour.
“We’re going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it,” Stockley can be heard yelling in audio from the police vehicle’s dashboard camera. Shortly after, Stockley can be heard telling his partner to ram into Anthony’s vehicle, which put an end to the car chase…
The Unauthorized Weapon
Officer Stockley and Officer Bianchi both jumped out of their police SUV and approached the Buick that the 24-year-old father was in. In the dashcam footage, Stockley appeared to have an unauthorized AK-47 and his service gun drawn as he approached the driver’s side of the vehicle.
The dashcam footage appears to show Stockley leaning inside the car through the driver’s side window to talk to Anthony. It appears the 2 men struggle with each other before Stockley pulls his head out of the car. What happened inside the car and moments after are unclear and have become a source of controversy…
Officer Stockley ended up firing 5 shots into the car, which hit and killed Anthony, with his service gun and then returning to the police SUV to put his AK-47 away. After that, backup was called to the scene and an investigation into the killing was initiated to see if Stockley had followed protocol and was justified in killing the 24-year-old dad.
Collecting The Evidence
After detectives arrived at the scene to start collecting evidence, Stockley was seen going back and forth between the Buick and his police vehicle, where he got something out of a duffel bag that he had stored in the backseat. After that, cops found a gun inside Andrew’s car as well as a bag of heroin…
Surprising DNA Results
Police collected the items found in Andrew’s car as evidence and had them tested for DNA. Surprisingly, there was no DNA on the handgun that belonged to Andrew. Instead, the only DNA found on the weapon that was found in the Buick belonged to Officer Stockley.
The Civil Lawsuit
Investigators also reviewed the dashcam footage and heard the concerning statements made by Stockley during the high-speed car chase. Even though these facts about the case had not been made public knowledge, a wrongful death and civil rights suit was filed in February 2012 on behalf of Anthony’s 1-year-old daughter…
The lawsuit was against both Officer Stockley as well as the St. Louis Police Board. Ultimately, Anthony’s family reach a settlement with the police and were awarded $900,000. Even though they reached a settlement, the issue was far from being settled.
In 2013, the former Army soldier who served a 15-month tour of duty in Iraq ended up resigning from the St. Louis Police Department after getting suspended from the force for 30 days for carrying the unauthorized assault rifle on the day of the shooting…
Running From The Controversy
Stockley tried to move on with his life by moving to Texas to escape the controversy. He started a job as a manager at an oil company, but it wasn’t long before he was forced to deal with what he did in 2011. In May 2016, former Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce charged Stockley with first-degree murder.
Stockley waived his rights to a trial by a jury of his peers and instead chose to let Judge Timothy Wilson decide his guilt. During the trial, Stockley testified that his partner shouted that he saw Anthony with a gun when the car chase first began. He also said that he carried the AK-47 ‘as a deterrent’. His defense attorney argued that that statement he made about killing Anthony during the car chase was hyperbole…
Stockley’s defense also argued that when he went back to the police vehicle, he was grabbing QuikClot wound dressings to treat Anthony, but decided not to since he couldn’t be saved. In regards to the DNA on the gun, Stockley’s lawyers claim he wasn’t wearing gloves when they were collecting evidence from the car.
The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that Stockley’s comments made during the chase proved the murder was premeditated. The prosecution claimed Stockley took the gun found in Anthony’s car from his duffle bag and planted the gun in the car, which is why his DNA was on the weapon and not Anthony’s. Prosecutors had a fellow officer testify that he didn’t find any weapon in the car when he first searched it to prove that the gun must have been planted. Lastly, the prosecution argued that Stockley paused for a time before shooting the last shot, which proved he did not fear for his life…
The Shocking Decision
Final arguments were made on August 9th and weeks passed before the judge came to his decision. On September 15, Judge Wilson announced that he found Stockley was not guilty of all charges. According to Wilson, the state didn’t meet the burden of proof. He also didn’t believe Anthony didn’t have a gun on him.
“The Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly,” Wilson said in a controversial statement. “I actually cried. And not because I didn’t expect to hear that. Because it was a confirmation that, ‘We don’t care about you all.’ It’s like, ‘See? I told you we don’t care about you, and we don’t have to.’,” Activist Cori Bush said about the decision. Within minutes, people came together in downtown St. Louis to protest the verdict…
A New Development
While Anthony’s family and most of St. Louis were outraged by the verdict, which seemed to ignore an overwhelming amount of evidence that proved Anthony was murdered, a development in the case was made in 2018 that could really help his family.
Reopening The Civil Suit
According to Attorney General Josh Hawley, crucial evidence was wrongfully withheld during the Stockley civil case. The lawyer representing Anthony’s family was never told about how Stockley’s DNA was found on the gun. If they had that evidence, the family’s lawyer believes they would have been awarded a lot more than $900,000. If they can now find the person or entity that withheld the evidence, they could sue in civil court again and get more money.