Newly obtained dashcam footage (below) has led to murder charges against former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, related to a December 2011 incident in which the officer shot and killed a suspect with an illegal semi-automatic weapon after a high-speed car chase through the St. Louis suburbs.
The victim, Anthony Lamar Smith, was suspected of selling drugs, according to KTVI, the news station that obtained the nearly 5-year-old footage from an anonymous source. The footage shows Stockley carrying his personal weapon, an AK-47 style rifle, while walking towards Smith's car. The use personal weapons while on duty is a violation of St. Louis police policy.
Prosecutors claim that as Smith speeds away, Stockley fires at the vehicle. He then returns to the passenger seat of the patrol car and tells his partner, Brian Bianchi in the driver's seat, to "get him."
During the high-speed chase, the patrol car speeds through a red light at 69 miles per hour, as well as numerous stop signs, and collides with a tree. The audio from the dashcam isn't perfectly clear, but according to prosecutors, Stockley can be heard saying "I'm going to kill this motherf-----."
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As Smith appears to slow down and pull over, Stockley says, "Hit him right now." The patrol car then slams into the back of Smith's vehicle. The officers are seen exiting their patrol car and surrounding Smith. Stockley is once again carrying his personal weapon. He fires five shots through the driver's window, all of which struck Smith, according to the prosecutors' probable cause statement.
The video then shows Stockley placing his personal gun in the backseat of the patrol car, and then rummaging around off camera. It is unclear what he is doing at this point in the video.
In a memo to his Lieutenant obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Stockley said he saw a silver handgun in the suspect's possession before the car chase. The memo said Stockley believed Smith was reaching for the gun when the officer shot him. Stockley then recovered the weapon and unloaded it.
According to court records, the only DNA found on the gun belonged to Stockley, which has led Smith's family members to suggest that the officer may have planted the gun, Crime and Justice News reported on Sept. 22 via The Crime Report.
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Authorities arrested Stockley, who left the force in 2013 and relocated to Texas, on Sept. 19, according to the Chicago Tribune. He's out on bail of $1 million, paid by the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, and is staying with family members in Illinois, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
His trial is scheduled for Oct. 3.
Warning: Graphic Footage
Sources: KTVI, Crime and Justice News via The Crime Report, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch via YouTube / Photo credit: Surveillance Footage via St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Video Credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch via YouTube