In the five years it took to release Stockley footage — and nearly six that it took for a verdict — a justifiable anger boiled over in the city.
We live in a world where almost everything is readily available to us.
Music can be downloaded at the touch of a button. TV shows can be streamed almost instantly. And millions of books can be accessed without a trip to the library. So why, then, did it take almost five years for video footage of the death of Anthony Lamar Smith to be released, and six years for a decision to be handed down in this straightforward case? I am outraged. I am frustrated. But I am not surprised.
As an attorney, I have dedicated myself to representing families of victims of similar crimes and tragedies for a long time. What I see here is that the people of St. Louis have endured an agonizing wait for video footage and for justice, an inexplicable delay that created tension that grew stronger and stronger as a concerned public waited and wondered. The delay for the video footage, and subsequent Sept. 15 verdict that acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley of murder, sparked a visceral reaction that bubbled up as protests on the streets of St. Louis.
Once again, another killer cop walks away with zero consequences for ending the life of a black man. It didn’t matter that Stockley triumphantly proclaimed that he was going to “kill this [expletive], don’t you know it.” It also didn’t matter that he was accused of planting a gun in Smith’s vehicle. There was a conspiracy by the system to sanitize and justify the murder of this black man by a white cop. Justice wasn’t just for Anthony Lamar Smith.
It’s been three years since the death of Michael Brown and almost twice as long since the death of Smith, and history keeps repeating itself. While St. Louis may be the epicenter of debate on policing and treatment of people of color, this problem is so much bigger than St. Louis.
This is America’s problem.
Many people — namely those who have never experienced oppression — criticize protesters for their anger-filled approach to these outrages. What they don’t understand is that people of color are tired of seeing the senseless murders of their brothers and…