Protests in St Louis after cop acquitted of murdering black man

Governor warns protesters about property damage

Jason Stockley, who was charged with first-degree murder in May 2016, was also acquitted of criminal action charges, NBC News reports. Defense attorneys claimed that Stockley believed Smith had a firearm; however, prosecutors alleged that Stockley planted the weapon.

The police department said officers would be working 12-hour shifts starting Friday and Mayor Lyda Krewson said the State Highway Patrol and St. Louis County police would provide support, with the patrol handling any protests on state highways. The statement reads, "We have been in touch with city and county officials, and the state of Missouri will continue to assist them". He also said in the statement that he will protect the rights of protesters while ensuring that laws remain enforced.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner acknowledged the difficulty of winning police shooting cases but said prosecutors believe they proved that Stockley meant to kill Smith. "We haven't made any progress since Ferguson, that's clear". "People say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations".

Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday "took the initial steps" to activate the Missouri National Guard in anticipation of possible events related to the Stockley verdict.

According to KTVI, government buildings, schools and events will be closed or halted for the day due the city expecting unrest in response to the decision.

"This system and all the politicians calling for peace are ignoring the pain this verdict causes our communities".

O'Toole said he understands emotions are running but the judge's decision should be respected, and that protecting citizens is his department's top priority.

Governor warns protesters about property damage

He added, "The Court observes, based on its almost 30 years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly". The bench ruling Friday came more than a month after testimony concluded.

"This court, as the trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant's guilt", Wilson wrote in his verdict. The problem is, Jason Stockley never said that.

Ferguson became the focal point of a national debate on race relations after white officer Darren Wilson shot dead black teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.

St. Louis police said on Twitter that 13 people had been arrested following Stockley's acquittal, including one Friday morning.

The prosecutor said that she is disappointed but recognized that officer-shooting cases are especially hard. If you look like me, then you feel like there is no other way to express yourself in the face of this kind of verdict. "I am frustrated as well".

He said that Stockley did not immediately shoot Smith after approaching his vehicle, and that he only shot him 15 seconds after arriving at the driver's side. And one, according to documents obtained by NBC affiliate KSDK, Stockley could be heard saying he was "going to kill this (expletive) - don't you know". Stockley shot Smith five times, saying he saw Smith holding a gun. Stockley fired at the fleeing vehicle, then a auto chase began. The gun was too large, Wilson said, for Stockley to hide it from the cameras at the scene. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and waived his right to a jury trial, instead preferring to stand before a judge.

Stockley resigned from the force in 2013, the same year that the Board of Police Commissioners settled a wrongful death suit with Smith's family for $900,000.

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