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Activists, clergy warn of 'mass disruption' if ex-St. Louis cop is acquitted of murder

Activists, clergy warn of 'mass disruption' if ex-St. Louis cop is acquitted of murder


ST. LOUIS • Activists calling for a conviction in the first-degree murder trial of former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley on Monday warned of “mass disruption” if he is acquitted.

“It’s going to look a lot like Ferguson. It’s going to be a hundred-plus days, three hundred-plus days of direct action,” Tory Russell, 33, of St. Louis, said Monday on the steps of the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.

The bench trial for Stockley, 36, of Houston, ended Aug. 9. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson has yet to issue his verdict; he ordered the state and defense to submit post-trial briefs summarizing their arguments by Aug. 18.

Russell was joined by about 45 activists, clergy members and the mother of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, who was fatally shot by Stockley 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.

Smith’s mother called for justice for her son.

“I want to know why is it taking so long to get a verdict,” Annie Smith said outside the courthouse. “I just hope justice will be served.”

Anthony Lamar Smith

Anthony Lamar Smith holds his daughter in an undated family photo. Smith was fatally shot by St. Louis police after a car pursuit in December 2011.

The Rev. Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis said the St. Louis clergy community supports activists “100 percent” in whatever response protesters make.

“We stand with these activists,” Stancil said. “And we stand behind them, and we support them. Because just like they’re tired, we’re tired. Because we’re clergy and when we wear our collar and our suit and tie, we’re treated with respect (by police). But when we take off and put on a pair of jeans, we’re treated the same way.”

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