"This Court, in conscience, can not say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense", Wilson wrote in his ruling.
Gardner would not elaborate on the evidence she's referring to. Police have blocked off some streets. Stockley argues that the shooting occurred in self-defense as he claims a struggle ensued resulting in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Prosecutors accused the officer of planting a silver revolver to justify the shooting. The video is said to show protesters after being sprayed by police. Al Watkins, an attorney for Smith's fiancee, Christina Wilson, said his client was appalled by the decision. We must remain committed to protecting every citizen's constitutional right to protest publicly without interference and acknowledge that while protests do not have to be polite, anger must not give way to violence, and destruction must not replace dialogue.
"The First Amendment guarantees the right of every American to peaceably assemble and express their views and their grievances".
Protesters responded by burning a St. Louis Cardinals jersey in the street while reportedly chanting and shouting, "if we can't get no justice y'all can't get no peace". "Exploit that right, don't compromise it. Stay peaceful". Police dashcam video captures Stockley saying, "going to kill this (expletive), don't you know it", in the midst of the chase. As Smith quickly accelerated, there would not have been time for him to then grab a firearm and point it at Stockley.
Stockley maintained that the shooting of Smith was entirely in self defense because he believed Smith was about to fire a gun at him - despite the fact that forensics analysts could only find Stockley's DNA on the weapon that was supposedly owned by Smith.
The prosecution cited footage of Stockley rummaging through a bag in the back of the police vehicle.
Stockley also defended entering Smith's auto to retrieve the firearm he believed was in there. At the time, the judge presiding over the case said he wouldn't render a verdict until at least August 18.
"The gun was a plant", Steele said.
Smith was shot five times - in the neck, upper chest and forearm and twice in his left flank. He also said Smith's "threat to society was so high, you have to do whatever you can to stop it".
After Smith's auto hit the police vehicle, it also hit a red sedan - and then, Wilson relates, "Smith drove off the parking lot, striking the hand of Stockley, who had a gun drawn, and Smith sped away". Forty-five seconds later, he fatally shot Smith.
In his testimony, Stockley denied firing any execution-style "kill shot" and defended the trips to the vehicle. It was later revealed to be heroin, the judge said in a footnote to the ruling.
Stockley was charged with first-degree murder. Bianchi wasn't called to testify at the trial for unknown reasons. The then-officer shot at Smith's vehicle during the chase, apparently screaming, "I'm going to kill this motherfucker, don't you know it!"
But the judge noted in his decision that "people say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations".
A group of about 50 activists who support Smith's family gather on the steps of the courthouse where the trial was heard and threaten significant civil disobedience if Stockley is acquitted.
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