Protesters march in St. Louis after cop's acquittal - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Protesters march in St. Louis after cop's acquittal

Posted: Updated:
ST. LOUIS -

About 100 people have gathered in downtown St. Louis to protest the acquittal of a white former police officer in the shooting death of a black man.

A judge on Friday found 36-year-old Jason Stockley not guilty in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Protesters began gathering near the courthouse where the case was heard and were marching in the streets. Police have blocked off some streets. At one point, protesters headed toward an interstate ramp, but police blocked them from getting on.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says she hopes city residents will come together despite their differences over the acquittal.

Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase. Prosecutors alleged Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after he shot him.

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10:15 a.m.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says she hopes city residents will come together despite their differences over the acquittal of a white former police officer in the shooting death of a black man.

Krewson says in a statement early Friday that she's praying for the loved ones of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, who was shot to death in 2011. She also offers prayers for police, the judge who issued the verdict and "citizens who find no comfort, or justice."

The mayor encouraged St. Louis residents to show each other compassion and recognize that they all "rise and fall together."

The statement comes as protesters increased near the courthouse in downtown St.  Louis where the verdict was announced. Police were blocking streets near the courthouse so protesters could march.

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9:55 a.m.

St. Louis interim police chief Lawrence O'Toole is asking that people upset with the acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer in the shooting death of a black man demonstrate peacefully.

In a statement released shortly after the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley was announced Friday, O'Toole says the department understands that emotions are running high but that the judge's verdict should be respected.

Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase in 2011.

O'Toole says his department's top priority is protecting and serving citizens. He says the department is committed to protecting free speech rights but is also committed to upholding the city's laws.

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9:40 a.m.

About a dozen protesters have gathered near the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis after a judge acquitted a white former St. Louis police officer of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black man following a 2011 chase.

Protesters are shouting that the Friday verdict is unfair and that they want justice.

Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson issued his ruling against 36-year-old Jason Stockley. Stockley could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted.

Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase. Stockley says he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase began, and that he felt he was in imminent danger.

Prosecutors alleged Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after he shot him.

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9 a.m.

A judge has acquitted a white former St. Louis police officer of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black man following a high-speed chase in 2011.

Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson issued his ruling Friday against 36-year-old Jason Stockley. Stockley could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted.

Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase. Stockley says he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase began, and that he felt he was in imminent danger when he opened fire.

Prosecutors alleged that Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after he shot him. A gun in the car had the officer's DNA on it, but not Smith's.

Stockley left the police force in 2013 and moved to Houston.

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8 a.m.

Preparations for possible protests are set in St. Louis, where a judge may rule Friday in the murder trial of a white former police officer who fatally shot a black suspect.

Jason Stockley's first-degree murder trial concluded Aug. 9 and St. Louis has been on edge awaiting Judge Timothy Wilson's ruling.

Stockley testified he shot Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011 because he thought the drug suspect was reaching for a gun. Prosecutors say Stockley planted the weapon.

Media reports and preparation announcements from officials indicate that Wilson may rule Friday. Gov. Eric Greitens has the National Guard on standby. Police are working 12-hour shifts, starting Friday. All downtown courthouses will be closed, including the federal courthouse, in anticipation of the verdict.

Greitens and Mayor Lyda Krewson are urging calm. Also asking for peace is Smith's fiancée, Christina Wilson.

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