Officer Jason Stockley arrested, charged with 2011 shooting where defendant can be heard saying he’s “going to kill this (expletive deleted), don’t you know it.”
A disgraced former St. Louis police officer has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting Anthony Lamar Smith – an incident resulting in one of the largest wrongful-death settlements in the city’s history.
Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office on Monday charged Jason Stockley, 35, presently living in Houston, Texas. St Louis police in partnership with U.S. marshals arrested Stockley at his home in the 6300 block of Chevy Chase Drive Monday evening. He is being held without bail in Harris County, Texas before facing arraignment.
“I’m disappointed because I know what fine public servants the vast majority of police officers are, and this kind of conduct on the part of this former officer doesn’t reflect the excellent work I see from them every day,” Joyce said. “So it’s disappointing in that regard, but it’s important that people understand that if you commit a crime, and we have the evidence to prove it, it doesn’t matter to us what you do for a living. Our job is to hold people accountable if we have the evidence, and in this case, we do.”
Stockley shot 24-year-old Smith in December 2011 because they suspected him of engaging in an illegal drug transaction, which led to a high-speed chase. After shooting at Smith’s car, Stockley and his partner Brian Bianchi chased the victim and deliberately crashed their SUV into the victim’s car.
Stockley can be heard on audio saying he’s, “going to kill this (expletive deleted), don’t you know it.” After wounding him significantly with the crash, Stockley then approached Smith’s car on the driver’s side and shot five times into the car, each one striking the victim.
A firearm was recovered from Smith’s car, but lab analysis revealed the presence of only Stockley’s DNA. Smith was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“They wouldn’t let me kiss him or hug him goodbye,” his mother Annie Smith said at the time.
Initially, Stockley was put on desk duty, standard procedure for officers involved in fatal shootings, and in October 2012 an FBI investigation was officially opened.
The case was then forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division for a review which, prior to Joyce’s indictment, has not a received a response or acknowledgement.
In a statement following Stockley’s arrest, Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said, “The matter remains open, and the department declines to comment further.”
In 2013, the Board of Police Commissioners settled a federal wrongful-death lawsuit for $900,000 in connection with the shooting filed on behalf of Smith’s one-year-old daughter, Autumn.
St Louis, home to nearby Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown – which spurned a nationwide discussion on racial bias and use of force procedures in policing – also has had systemic problems within its law enforcement amid widespread allegations of profiling and brutality.
In April, activists staged public demonstrations calling for Stockley to be charged with murder.
“The Department of Justice has had the information on this and has not moved,” said Reverend and Civil Rights activist Phillip Duvall.
Joyce declined to comment on whether Stockley’s partner Bianchi would face any charges at this time.