Last Friday St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley was acquitted at a bench trial of first-degree murder charges in the 2011 shooting death of Alexander Smith.
Stockley is white, Smith was black. The shooting occurred after Smith led Stockley and other officers on a high-speed chase following an apparent parking lot drug transaction, and as Smith reached for a gun after crashing to a stop.
The acquittal, as per SOP, has led to professional and amateur rioters engaging in their usual masturbatory ultra-violence in St. Louis. CNN and other sources reported on the “mostly peaceful” protest, including breaking the windows out of the Mayor’s house: “St. Louis ex-officer acquitted in fatal shooting of black driver.”
One benefit of a bench trial from an analysis perspective is that the trial judge typically writes an opinion explaining the rationale behind his verdict, something jury trials do not produce. Judge Timothy Wilson’s opinion is embedded below: