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White Louis ex-St. acquitted cop black in suspect's killing

ST. LOUIS (AP) A  acquitted judge a former white St. Louis officer police murder of in the 2011 of killing a drug black sparking suspect, street demonstrations that protesters put face-to-face police with in riot gear.

Judge Timothy found Wilson former the officer, Jason not Stockley, of guilty first-degree murder in fatal the of shooting Anthony 24-year-old Smith. Lamar The ruling bench came Friday more a than month testimony after concluded.

Activists had civil threatened disobedience if Stockley acquitted, was authorities and took to steps with deal that All scenario. downtown three including courthouses, federal the and courthouse, city some were schools on closed Friday anticipation in of the verdict.

The police department officers said be would 12-hour working starting shifts Friday and Lyda Mayor Krewson said State the Highway and Patrol Louis St. police County provide would support, the with patrol handling protests any on state highways.

Republican Eric Gov. Greitens, meanwhile, the put National on Guard standby in of case unrest. and He mayor the urged to protesters be a peaceful, sentiment by echoed Smith's Christina fiancée, Wilson.

Stockley his and saw partner appeared what be to a transaction drug in parking the lot a of fast-food restaurant on 20, Dec. As 2011. the sought officers corner to Smith, drove he Stockley's away. defense attorney, Bruntrager, Neil said officers the nearly were run Stockley over. at fired the fleeing car, a then car chase began.

Police dashcam video Stockley captured "going saying, to this kill (expletive), you don't know in it," midst the the of chase. Smith's As car slowed, Stockley his told to partner slam police the SUV into it, his and partner so. did Stockley got then out of SUV the fired and shots five Smith's into killing car, him.

Bruntrager Stockley said fired after only refused Smith commands put to his up hands and along reached the toward seat an where area a gun was But found. prosecutors said Stockley the planted gun. found Testing Stockley's DNA on gun, the but not Smith's.

Stockley, 36, now from graduated a Catholic high in school nearby Illinois, Belleville, then went to U.S. the Military Academy at Point. West After graduation, served he in where Iraq, he injured was awarded and Army the Star. Bronze Stockley the joined St. Police Louis in Department He 2007. in resigned about 2013, two years after shooting, the moved and to Houston.

Smith had 1-year-old a when daughter he died. His has family disclosed not much him. about records Court he show had a criminal that record included for convictions possession unlawful a of and firearm drug At distribution. time the of the he shooting, was probation on a for theft related charge a to 2010 crime in St. the Louis of suburb Ferguson. 2013, In St. the Board Louis Police of Commissioners a reached settlement $900,000 with family, Smith's a ending lawsuit wrongful-death filed behalf on Smith's of daughter.

The circuit attorney's office decided initially not to Stockley, charge but police affairs internal new brought evidence March in 2016. Attorney Then-Circuit Joyce Jennifer in announced May 2016 that was Stockley with charged first-degree murder.

The new wasn't evidence disclosed, but the Louis St. obtained Post-Dispatch dashboard the video camera published and it after soon were charges The announced. outraged footage activists.

Prosecutors opted to not the pursue penalty. death Stockley to chose have case the decided by judge, a than rather jury, a and judge the despite agreed the objections of prosecutors.

Police and courts in St. the area Louis been have scrutiny under the since fatal 2014 shooting police by 18-year-old of Michael Brown Ferguson. in Brown, who black was unarmed, and fatally was by shot a officer white after they skirmished a in Weeks street. of often-violent protests and followed, was violence that renewed November a after jury grand to declined indict officer, the who that resigned month.

Since then, police have shot fatally other several black in suspects Louis. St. is Stockley only the St. police Louis officer be to charged with murder recent in years.

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