ST. LOUIS • A group of clergy calling for the first-degree murder conviction of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley delivered a warning Friday to the judge in the case.
“Any decision rendered by you other than a guilty verdict will make you liable for any ensuing unrest or acts of aggression,” the group wrote. “In biblical terms, ‘the blood will be on your hands.’”
The letter was presented Friday in St. Louis as a group of about 25 St. Louis clergy members marched from Poelker Park across Tucker Boulevard to the steps of the Civil Courts building demanding a conviction. As they walked, they sang “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom.”
In a similar gathering early last week, a group that included some of the clergy warned of “mass disruption” if Stockley is acquitted of murder.
Stockley fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, after a police chase on Dec. 20, 2011. Prosecutors have alleged Stockley planted a .38-caliber revolver in Smith’s crashed Buick after shooting him five times at close range.
The Rev. Clinton Stancil read the clergy’s letter at Friday’s gathering.
He said the group was not advocating for violence, favoring “disruption but not destruction.”
“We don’t condone violence, but there will be mass disruption if we can’t get justice,” said Stancil, of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis.
“By delaying the verdict you have built up pressure in this city, and when you build up enough pressure, that pressure needs somewhere to go,” Stancil said. “We are trying to make sure that it does not burst and explode out into the city, but if it does, it’s not our fault.”
After reading the letter aloud, a few participants went to the Carnahan Courthouse where they taped a copy of the letter to the door of the judge’s office and slid a copy under the door to the courtroom. They also held hands in a circle and prayed.