New Video Suggests Cop Intentionally Killed Black Man, Planted Gun

By Sameer Rao Sep 21, 2016

Coupled with a cell phone video released in June and court charging documents cited in May, video and reports published today (September 21) by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicate that a former police officer may have both intentionally killed a Black man and planted a gun in his car. Jason Stockley was charged with first-degree murder in May for the 2011 on-duty killing of Anthony Lamar Smith.

The Post-Dispatch said it obtained videos from a nearby store’s surveillance camera and Stockley’s police SUV dashcam, which show Stockley and Officer Brian Bianchi’s attempt to arrest Smith, a Black man suspected of participating in a drug deal. Their pursuit ended with a car crash and Smith’s shooting death. Bianchi remains on the force, and Stockely left St. Louis’ Metropolitan Police Department in 2013.

The videos, as well as court documents and other investigative evidence and reports, could not be released by attorneys due to a federal judge’s protective order in connection with a civil suit—which required the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners to pay Smith’s youngest daughter a $900,000 settlement in 2013. The Post-Dispatch said it "obtained copies of videos and reports from someone not otherwise involved in the legal proceedings, who said he had received them anonymously." The publication released the videos and three internal memos from the department and FBI’s investigation into the shooting, but not the court documents cited in May.

The new videos show the officers pulling up behind Smith’s car in a parking lot and getting out, just before Smith backs into the SUV and drives off. Stokley almost drops an AK-47 assault rifle, not authorized for on-duty use, before shooting at Smith with a department-issued gun. The officers then chase Smith’s vehicle. Court documents cited by the Post-Dispatch say that Stockley said, "Going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it" during the pursuit.

The officers later ram Smith’s car from behind, setting off his side, which block the dashcam’s view of the inside of the car. They both approach holding guns (Stockley, the AK-47). After both officers appear to look under the airbags, Stockley fires five shots into the car from his handgun. After another officer arrives, Stockley is seen putting the AK-47 in the SUV’s back seat and reaching into a duffel bag; his body obscures sight of what he might have retrieved. Stockley said in one of the released memos that he went to the SUV to get a "Quick Clot" tool to stop Smith’s bleeding. Smith died on the scene. The previously-released cell phone video shows Stockley returning to Smith’s car after he was removed from it, and climbing into the driver’s seat.

Both officers told investigators that they thought Smith had a gun, with Stockley saying he shot Smith believing he was reaching for the weapon. But the court documents reveal that tests on the revolver found in Smith’s car uncovered Stockley’s DNA and not Smith’s. Stockley told investigators that he unloaded the revolver as a safety precaution, which transfered his DNA.

Stockley currently resides in Illinois. His $1 million bail was posted by the city’s police officers union. A hearing is scheduled for October 3 to set his trial date.