A former St. Louis police officer was acquitted Friday in the fatal shooting of a drug suspect following a chase.
Jason Stockley was charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Testimony in the trial ended Aug. 9, but Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson weighed evidence for more than a month before ruling.
Stockley and his partner sought to question Smith after observing what appeared to be a drug deal on a fast-food restaurant parking lot. Smith drove away, prompting a chase.
Stockley shot into Smith’s car five times after the chase. He testified Smith was moving his hand toward an area of the seat where a gun was found. But prosecutors said Stockley planted the gun.
Stockley is white and Smith was black. The case is among several across the United States in recent years that have increased debate about race and policing. Here are some other high-profile deaths of blacks during police encounters:
The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday it won’t bring federal civil rights charges against six Baltimore officers involved in the arrest and in-custody death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death touched off weeks of protests. Gray was shackled but alive when he was put in a Baltimore police van in April 2015. He came out with severe neck injuries. Six officers were charged initially, but prosecutors in July 2016 dropped all remaining charges after acquittals and a hung jury. Gray’s family agreed to a $6.4 million settlement with the city in September 2015.
Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in November 2015, on the same day that the city, under a judge’s orders, released dashcam video showing 17-year-old McDonald being shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. Van Dyke, who is white, has pleaded not guilty. The Justice Department determined in January that Chicago police have a long history of civil rights violations and excessive force. A Cook County grand jury looking into allegations of a cover-up is weighing further indictments in the case, the Chicago Sun Times reported in August.
KEITH LAMONT SCOTT
A split review board announced in August that it won’t challenge a police department’s finding that its officer was justified in the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2016. The board split 4-4 after reviewing the internal police probe. The board will issue confidential…