The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

St. Louis Judge Acquits Killer Cop

Sep 18, 2017

A judge in St. Louis acquitted a cop, Jason Stockley, of the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old black man. Stockley shot Smith five times after stopping Smith in his car.

This should have been an open and shut case of first-degree murder. Stockley was caught on his dashcam video just one minute before the shooting saying he was “going to kill this motherfucker, don’t you know it.” He could also be heard in the video telling his partner, who was driving the vehicle he rode in, to ram Smith’s vehicle. After his partner did so, Stockley got out of the vehicle carrying a pistol and an AK-47, which is illegal, and then shot Smith not just once, but five times.

Stockley claims it was in self-defense. He claims Smith had a gun, but DNA tests showed the gun had only the cop’s DNA on it. A bystander’s cellphone video shows Stockley walking back to his cop car, digging into something in the back seat, and then getting into and sitting in Smith’s vehicle. This gave him plenty of time to plant the gun.

Despite all this, the judge who decided the case after Stockley waived his right to a jury trial said there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Smith’s killing was pre-meditated murder!

This is nothing more than one more legal lynching. There are many people who aren’t cops who have been convicted of murder on much slimmer evidence. There’s no question in this case of where and when the killing took place or who did the shooting. It’s been proven the cop planted a weapon and falsely claimed self-defense.

It may be true that Smith fled the cops, but Stockley made himself Smith’s judge, jury and executioner. The judge who heard Stockley’s case, Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson, gave Stockley his stamp of approval.

People in St. Louis were naturally outraged and immediately took to the streets in protest. The St. Louis cops had prepared for unrest in advance by putting up barricades around police headquarters. With the experience of the events that occurred in nearby Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown, the state’s governor put the Missouri National Guard on standby.

This is just the latest example to show that working people, and black people in particular, cannot expect justice from the courts nor the politicians when it comes to killings by the police. It will take even stronger fights than we’ve seen in recent years to put the cops on notice.