The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
The Twisted Road to Justice —
Believe me, it wasn’t planned this way. The trial of former St. Louis cop Jason Stockley is going to slide right into
the 3rd anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown. Brown was gunned down by Ferguson cop Darren Wilson,
inciting one of the longest, organized protests in modern history. The differences between then and now in these
two cases involving unarmed, Black young men is that Wilson was never indicted. Stockley was reluctantly
charged but the outcome could be the same — no consequences for a white cop taking a Black life.
The murder investigation of Jason Stockley was bounced around in 2011 like a flaming hot potato. The case was
volleyed among and between the investigative units of the St. Louis Police Department and local, state and
federal prosecutors as well as the FBI before criminal charges were finally filed by City Prosecuting Attorney
Jennifer Joyce. The Stockley case was probably one of many which convinced Joyce that riding cross-country in
a RV was more appealing than being the city’s head prosecutor; Joyce retired last year. The murder trial fell into
the lap of new Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Gardner is the first African American to hold that post and ran on a
platform of reforming the corrupt department.
The murder of Anthony Lamar Smith happened in late 2011. Stockley and his partner, Brian Bianchi, alleged they saw a drug deal involving
Smith. A high-speed car chase through North St. Louis ended in a crash and with Stockley coming up on Smith’s car pumping five rounds into
his body at close range. Stockley claimed he saw Smith going for a gun and feared for his safety. The usual quickie probe by internal affairs
justified the murder. How a Black citizen can end up dead based on suspicions is commonplace, but is still unacceptable. Additional evidence
finally led to murder charges in May 2016 — some four-and-a-half years later.
And just who is Jason Stockley? Stockley is a West Point graduate who served in Iraq. He was discharged after being wounded and received
a Bronze Star. The latter fact compels cop-watch groups to demand more scrutiny of vets joining urban police departments who may be
suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Stockley must have thought he was in Baghdad because he carried his personal, high-
powered AK-47 to work that day. Carrying one’s own weapon on duty is a violation of police policy. Stockley left the SLPD in 2013 and headed
for Texas where he was residing at the time of his arrest for first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Stockley and the Blue Bloods have been hell-bent in obstructing justice since the murder. The evidence is pointing to the rogue cop planting a
gun on the unarmed Smith. A forensic analysis of the gun Stockley claimed was Smith’s only had the cop’s fingerprints on it. It will be difficult
for Stockley to explain away audio where he is heard saying “going to kill the (expletive), don’t you know.” Yeah, we know and you did. Pre-
Presiding Judge Timothy Wilson has a gag order in place on all parties involved and no TV cameras or other recording devices were allowed
in the courtroom. All this to protect Stockley’s “due process rights…and his right to an impartial jury.” The accused cop must have feared that
impartial jury because just days before the onset of the trial, he waived his right to a trial by jury leaving his fate to the judge. His decision
ironically came two weeks after the Organization for Black Struggle launched its Black Jurors Matter campaign to prevent the perpetuation of
all-white juries. I have no proof of the connection between the decision and the campaign. I’m just saying, the timing is interesting.
Albert Watkins is the attorney who filed the civil suit against the cop and the police commissioners on behalf of Smith’s young daughter.
Watkins won the largest settlement in history against a St. Louis cop. In the civil case, Watkins reviewed a ponderous of evidence including
police reports, video tapes, forensic analyses and the autopsy report. He concluded that all that evidence sat for nearly four years before the
prosecutor did anything with it. Most observers believed the civil case forced the hand of the prosecutor’s office. What Watkins didn’t have at
the time of the civil suit was the DNA report from the gun alleged to belong to Smith or Watkins, with which he thinks he could’ve gotten an
even bigger settlement.
Watkins also offered some legal advice to Stockley: “Pull his head out of his ass and cop a plea.” That would be the honorable thing for a
decorated veteran to do but rather than be accountable, Stockley made the decision to plead his case to another white man. It’s a rarity for an
accused cop to get a guilty verdict with a jury. Let’s see what conclusion Judge Wilson comes to at the end of this twisted road to justice.