ST. LOUIS • The daughter of a man fatally shot by a St. Louis police officer Dec. 20 sued the St. Louis Police Board and the officer Monday, alleging that police shot an unarmed and disabled man.
The wrongful death and civil rights suit was filed Monday in federal court here by one-year-old Autumn B. Smith against the board and Officer Jason Stockley over the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24. Smith's lawyer, Al Watkins, first announced plans to file the suit last week.
After the shooting, police said that officers spotted Smith conducting a suspected drug transaction near a Church's Chicken restaurant at Thekla Avenue and Riverview Boulevard. When officers approached Smith's car, he reached for something and drove toward one officer. The other fired a shot, then both pursued Smith's car in their police SUV for roughly a mile, until Smith crashed.
Police said that when officers approached and ordered Smith to show his hands, he reached under the seat and one officer opened fire. Police said they found drugs and a gun in Smith's car.
The suit says that Stockley was the officer who fired at Smith during the first confrontation and again after the crash. The suit says that Smith was seriously injured in the crash and was disabled and unarmed and posed no threat to anyone when Stockley shot him. It also claims that Stockley did not inquire or investigate whether Smith was armed.
Watkins said last week that Smith was begging for his life when shot, based on what Christina Wilson, the mother of Smith's child, heard while on the phone with Smith during the incident. Watkins said he had not seen the police SUV's video recording of the incident but had listened to an audio recording made by the OnStar motorist assist system, which was activated by the crash.
Wilson told the Post-Dispatch after the shooting that she was skeptical that Smith had a gun.
Court records show that Smith was caught with a pistol by police twice, and was a gang member convicted of theft, weapons and drug charges.
On Friday, lawyer Neil Bruntrager, who was retained by the Police Officers Association to represent the officer who fired the shots, said Watkins' allegations are "completely unsupported by all the known evidence."
At the request of the police department, the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office is reviewing the shooting.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said Friday that, "I think it's premature for anyone to reach any conclusion (about the incident)."
Shake off your afternoon slump with the oft-shared and offbeat news of the day, hand-brewed by our online news editor, Mandy St. Amand.