Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, 35, was arrested at his Houston home and charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Authorities confirmed the accused killer is presently in custody in Harris County, Texas, and is being held without bail.
According to the Guardian, Stockley was on duty when he saw Anthony Lamar Smith participate in a drug transaction. During the subsequent high-speed chase, Stockley was recorded telling his partner, Officer Brian Bianchi, that he planned to “kill [the suspect], don’t you know it.”
Although Smith eventually pulled over and stopped, Stockley reportedly ordered his partner to ram into Smith’s vehicle. Riverfront Times reports the former officer then exited the police cruiser and approached the suspect’s vehicle, carrying his personal AK-47 — which was a clear violation of departmental policy.
Jason Stockley then opened fire without clear provocation. He shot five times at Smith’s car. All five bullets entered the suspect’s body and at least one of the shots was fatal.
After Anthony Lamar Smith was dead, Jason Stockley reportedly planted the gun inside Smith’s vehicle to cloak his involvement in the man’s death.
Chief Dan Isom was running the St. Louis Police Department when the incident occurred. Although Isom placed Stockley on desk duty, he was not otherwise disciplined for Smith’s shooting death.
Questions about the incident and Stockley’s involvement resurfaced when Sam Dotson took over as Chief of Police.
In addition to placing Jason Stockley on suspension, Dotson ordered a $5,500 forensic analysis of the audio and video from Stockley’s cruiser. Before the results were released, the officer resigned and left the force.
Former U.S. cop charged with first-degree murder
Officer Jason Stockley…https://t.co/Zkp4HT63kU pic.twitter.com/jqnj9fFSEA
— Катя Медведева (@gsearchercom) May 17, 2016
In 2013, the St. Louis board of police commissioners reached a wrongful-death settlement of $900,000 with attorney Albert Watkins, who represented the Smith family on behalf of Smith’s then 1-year-old daughter Autumn B. Smith.
That same year, federal prosecutors reopened a criminal investigation into the former officer. Additional evidence, which suggested Stockley killed Anthony Lamar Smith in cold blood, prompted St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen to reexamine the case and eventually approve the criminal charges.
— Derk Brown (@DreadHead_46) May 17, 2016
The presiding judge confirmed he will present the case to a grand jury within the coming weeks. He also confirmed the incident is being reviewed by the Justice Department.
“ST. LOUIS police officer Jason Stockley charged w/ 1st-degree murder”
No pics of the cop
RIP Anthony Lamar Smith pic.twitter.com/419BIUEPgS
— Mike Oakenshield (@myecoll) May 17, 2016
Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who filed the charges on Monday, said, “I am disappointed because I know what fine public servants the vast majority of police are, and this kind of conduct on the part of this former police officer doesn’t reflect the excellent work I see from them day to day.”
St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen also expressed his disappointment in the arrest of a former law enforcement officer. However, the judge said Jason Stockley needs to be held accountable for the heinous crime.
“It’s disappointing in that regard, but it’s important that people understand that if you commit a crime, and we have the evidence to prove it, it doesn’t matter to us what you do for a living. Our job is to hold people accountable if we have the evidence and in this case we do.”
Jason Stockley’s murder charge comes on the heels of the public outcry from activists demanding the officer, who is white, be charged in the murder of Smith, who is black. The activists filed requests for documents as well as audio and video recordings pertaining to the case under the Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
[Image via Underworld/Shutterstock]