A Poet’s Opinion
-by Bill Watkins 9/21/2017
Having watched in-car video of the 2011 shooting, along with a bystander video of the events, and having read an account of the events and known facts from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch—recapped in a heavy.com news article from September 15th…
Here’s what I think, feel, and how I would have ruled—something I used to do when studying criminal law cases and decisions years ago, a self-study law review I made just to be a better person, and to know more stuff!!
Former St. Louis Police Officer, Jason Stockley, screwed up.
I don’t judge him, nor do I jump to the race card with what he did. Being a victim of multiple acts of police violence and abuse myself, I see in Stockley’s actions typical thuggery and bad acting so prevalent in guns-first, think later cops.
But on December 20th, 2011, Officer Stockley was not the only person to screw up. A suspect who would become the victim, Anthony Lamar Smith, was apparently dealing drugs, doing dirt—in the wrong place at the wrong time, with a rap sheet to match.
Smith, though a dad of a one-year old girl, I’m sure with good and bad in him—seemed to have the disease that leads too many of us into addiction and the trafficking of addictive drugs.
A lost soul, all the worse when cops roll up—AND YOU GET IN YOUR CAR, BANG INTO THEIRS AND FLEE THE SCENE!!!
Asking for trouble upon trouble, Stockley being one of those cops on scene to break up an illicit deal, it appears.
Stockley came to the scene armed with his own AK-47!!! This is the first sign of unprofessional behavior, and also one of premeditation.
Officer Stockley presented in the video I saw a person looking for more problems than were there, seemed unsafe.
And now we move to a high-speed chase—a VERY unsafe practice through town, the officer’s SUV careening into a TREE before slamming into Smith’s car at high speed.
Next thing, police weapons are drawn, and Stockley shoots four or five rounds into a car, killing Smith.
That is always murder to me, killing is NEVER self-defense!!
(I am a martial artist, I know self-defense, and the goal nor the needs of defense require the cessation of your opponent’s heartbeat.)
That Stockley is suspected to have blurted out his intention to kill the suspect en route during this chase does not surprise me.
Mr. AK-47, a guy who shot at a fleeing car, saying he wanted to kill somebody sounds like all the same guy.
I will report now that at no time in my studies have I seen or felt an extra racial component to this, OTHER THAN THE OBVIOUS FACT:
We in this country have mistreated and abused Africa-descended people since they were brought sinfully in chains to the Colonies.
Until white people like myself make conscious financial, emotional and spiritual amends to black people, we will have too many African Americans in inner cities, tempted into living the kind of life Anthony Lamar Smith was living.
Those who dig into the surface a racial element here, reporting “White Cop Shoots Black Hero” are stoking problems, and are not attacking the problem’s root.
The incident is one of thousands that demonstrate a bigger need to make amends for the ancient second sin of slavery in the country, the first being the white man’s treatment of Native American people.
THE 20 YEARS sentence that I would give to Stockley based on what this poet saw and could surmise from what I know—is not because Stockley is a racist, but because he is guilty of certain Manslaughter;
Of making a bad situation of drug dealing into a far Worse one.
Of waving a personal AK-47 around on the job, driving at unsafe speeds, and of himself being a greater criminal than the one he was supposed to apprehend and HELP on December 20th, 2011.
Whether or not Stockley “planted a gun” in Smith’s car seems uncertain, although the DNA evidence, if true, seems damning.
Twenty years is what Stockley should have seen, so he can calm down and reflect—read a book or two, pray to God and ask forgiveness for the life of violence he had over time embraced leading to this tragedy.
To exonerate a dangerous person is wrong, and I feel Judge Wilson made the wrong verdict, based on what I have seen, on September 15th, 2017.