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White cop acquitted in death of a black man, violent protests ensue

16 September 2017

In 2011, Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, was shot and killed by St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley after a high-speed chase.

More than 20 arrests were made by early Friday evening.

With National Guard troops placed on standby, authorities urged calm in the aftermath of a case reminiscent of the circumstances that spawned racially charged unrest in the nearby suburb of Ferguson, giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014.

The city - police and schools, among others - braced itself for protests after the the verdict was announced. He is then seen going back to Smith's auto and entering the vehicle twice for several moments. Smith then allegedly put the vehicle in gear and drove toward them, and they fired.

Stockley got out of the vehicle, went to Smith's and fired five shots, which turned out to be fatal.

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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. A recording in the auto quoted Stockley as saying "gonna kill this [expletive]" shortly before he opened fire, according to multiple news reports.

Stockley's lawyers said he fired in self-defence, believing Smith was reaching for a gun.

The gun in question, as reported by The Washington Post, was recovered by investigators but the only DNA found on the firearm by prosecutors belonged to Stockley. "The officers were heard saying "I'm gonna kill that N-word" and then of course that shooting happened". He later graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army in Iraq, earning a Bronze Star in combat.

The St Louis Metropolitan Police Department initially deemed the killing justifiable.

Smith had a 1-year-old daughter when he died.

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Fans who had purchased tickets for the Saturday night performance inside St. Louis' The Dome at America's Center will receive a full refund. He resigned from the force in 2013 and settled a wrongful death suit with Smith's family for $900,000 the same year, the outlet writes. The state did not initially prosecute Stockley but, in the aftermath of Ferguson, charges were pressed in May 2016.

Around 600 protestors marched on the streets of St. Louis after Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder for the killing of Anthony Smith in 2011, according to Reuters.

"It feels like a burden has been lifted, but the burden of having to kill someone never really lifts", he said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday.

Prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty.

Stockley, who maintained his innocence, waived his right to a jury trial, allowing the judge to decide. The group taunted officers who arrived in riot gear by the busload.

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White cop acquitted in death of a black man, violent protests ensue