RUSH: Our blowtorch affiliate in St. Louis is the great KMOX, and we have not been carried today in St. Louis because Ferguson 2.0 might be happening. Here’s the headline from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper: “Ex-St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley Found Not Guilty of Murder — Former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley…” He may pronounce it Stoke-ly. I’m not sure. It’s spelled with a C-K, so in my education, you pronounce that “stock.” But people’s name pronunciations are different, so I’m not clear that’s how I pronounce it. Could be “Stoke-ly.”
But, anyway he “was found not guilty [today] of murdering a man while on duty. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson’s highly anticipated verdict found the white former St. Louis police officer not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black drug suspect, after a high-speed pursuit and crash. Activists, with support from some of the city’s black clergy, had pledged disruptive protests ahead of Wilson’s verdict.” Some are claiming that Ferguson will look like Romper Room if the verdict here is “not guilty,” which it has been.
The judge “addressed such statements [as made by the black clergy] in his order: ‘A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism.'” The big judge was saying: I don’t care what you’re threatening to do. I don’t care what you’re the threatening to do to the city. The law is the law, and I’m gonna judge it accordingly. “More than a month…” It was a bench trial. There’s no jury. “More than a month has passed since Stockley’s bench trial ended, a case that has rekindled racial tensions not seen in St. Louis since the Ferguson uprising and police killing of VonDerrit Myers Jr. in the second half of 2014.
“Ahead of the verdict — and the threat of violent protests — Gov. Eric Greitens took steps to activate the National Guard. Police officers in St. Louis and St. Louis County were put on 12-hour shifts, and several St. Louis schools called off classes [today].
“Barricades went up around downtown courthouses and the police station, and some downtown businesses boarded up their windows. … ‘Anybody who knew what they were talking about would never have made such a statement,'” said one of the people here, one of the protests at KMOX, the morning host. The mayor is Lyda Krewson. She “released a statement following the verdict saying, ‘I am appalled at what happened to Anthony Lamar Smith.’ ‘I am sobered by this outcome. Frustration, anger, hurt, pain, hope and love all intermingled.
“‘I encourage St. Louisans to show each other compassion, to recognize that we all have different experiences and backgrounds and that we all come to this with real feelings and experiences,’ she wrote. Krewson’s comment drew a rebuke from” the lawyer for the cop. “Anybody who knew what they were talking about would never make such a statement.” Made that statement on morning show on KMOX in St. Louis.
The cop, “36, whose home is now Houston, was charged last year with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Dec. 20, 2011, shooting death of,” the victim, again, Anthony Lamar Smith. The decision on whether drug trial — was the judge’s because Stockley waived his right to a jury trial, the cop. “The decision” a jury trial or bench trial “was Wilson’s alone because Stockley waived his right to a jury trial.”
The judge, “Okay, I’ll do it myself.”
“Prosecutors said Stockley carried out the premeditated murder of Smith by shooting him five times at close range and then planting a .38-caliber revolver in Smith’s Buick after police pulled Smith’s body from the car.” So the usual allegation, evidence was planted and it was a predetermined murder based on race, is what has fired up the town.
“[Prosecutors] asserted a ‘kill shot’ was fired at close range after the first four shots were fired in close succession and struck Smith in the shoulder. Defense attorneys said Stockley acted ‘reasonably’ in self-defense in killing a drug suspect he believed was reaching for a hidden handgun.”
Tensions are high and threats are being made to burn the town down and so forth. But that’s the latest in St. Louis. If things have actually begun to happen, I haven’t yet heard about them. But I wanted to make sure and mention it. That’s why our station in St. Louis has gone wall-to-wall covering this.