ST. LOUIS — The Latest on the murder trial of a white former police officer who fatally shot a black man in St. Louis (all times local):
Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley says he understands how the video of him fatally shooting Anthony Lamar Smith after a car chase in 2011 looks bad to investigators and the public, but he said the optics have to be separated from the facts and he did nothing wrong.
Stockley, who is white, was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Smith, who was black. The ruling Friday sparked hundreds of people to protest in St. Louis. Stockley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the burden of having to kill someone never totally lifts.
Stockley said he’s concerned for first responders and protesters and doesn’t want to see anyone hurt over the ruling. He said he “can feel for” and “understand” what Smith’s family is facing, but that he’s not to blame.
Hundreds of protesters continue to march in the upscale Central West End section of St. Louis, chanting and carrying signs with anti-police slogans and “Black Lives Matter” on them.
After attempting to march onto Interstate 64 Friday night but being thwarted by police who had blocked the path, the group marched back to a commercial intersection and staged a sit-in for about 20 minutes. The group was silent for some minutes, with the only noise being the sound of a news helicopter overhead.
The group later began marching down Euclid Avenue in an area with restaurants, bars and shops. A protester threw a rock through a restaurant window. Another group of protesters burned an American flag as other demonstrators cheered. In another instance, a man began to burn a flag and other protesters made him stop.
Protesters have moved to the upscale Central West End section of St. Louis, where a large group is marching through streets chanting as people look on from restaurants and the windows of hospitals lining busy Kingshighway.
The group is attempting to march onto Interstate 64 via a nearby entrance, but a large contingent of police is blocking the path.
The trendy neighborhood includes Missouri’s largest hospital, Barnes-Jewish, along with the Washington University Medical School, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and dozens of tech firms.
Police have blocked the entrance to nearby Forest Park to prevent protesters from disrupting an event that’s part of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.