ST. LOUIS — Videos obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provide new insight into a fatal 2011 police shooting that led to first-degree murder charges this year against a white officer, who was carrying a personal assault rifle against police policy.
Jason Stockley was charged in May in the Dec. 20, 2011, death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man who was a drug suspect and was shot and killed after a high-speed chase. When the charges were filed, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce cited new evidence that she did not disclose.
A federal judge has prohibited release of the videos and police reports by lawyers who obtained it as part of a civil case in which the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners paid a $900,000 settlement for Smith’s young daughter.
But the videos posted Tuesday by the newspaper (http://bit.ly/2diSU90 ) are from the police SUV and store surveillance footage. The Post-Dispatch says it obtained copies of videos, police reports, crime scene and evidence photos and an OnStar vehicle assistance recording from someone not involved in the legal proceedings, who said he had received them anonymously. KTVI-TV also posted the dashcam video Tuesday, saying it received it on a thumb drive from an anonymous person.
Stockley and Officer Brian Bianchi pulled up behind Smith’s rented car outside of a fast food restaurant, the dashcam and surveillance camera videos show. Smith backs into the police SUV, maneuvers out of the parking lot and speeds past Stockley, who is not in the SUV, nearly knocking an AK-47 rifle from his hands. It was Stockley’s personal rifle; officials say carrying that on duty is against department policy.
Stockley fired several shots from his department-issued handgun, and the two officers began the chase. Court documents accuse Stockley of saying during the chase, “Going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it.”
After Smith’s car stops, Stockley tells Bianchi to ram the back. The officers get out and Stockley fires five shots from his department-issued handgun into the car. There is no audio of the officers’ voices outside their SUV.
Stockley, now 35, told investigators he fired after Smith reached for a gun, then unloaded Smith’s gun as a safety precaution after the shooting.
Smith’s relatives and supporters say Stockley planted the weapon. Documents cite tests that show Stockley’s DNA, not Smith’s, on a .38-caliber revolver that was found in Smith’s car.
Stockley left the force in 2013 and is free on $1 million bond secured by the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association. Bianchi was not accused of wrongdoing and is still on the force.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com