Black double jeopardy scenarios resulting in death and exoneration
So in the latest case of what most Black people would refer to as blatant injustice – a trial and outcome of ‘another’ fatal white police shooting-Black male victim, this time out in St. Louis Mo. – trial Judge Timothy Wilson essentially stated that after long, painstaking deliberation he couldn’t come to any other decision than find former police officer Jason Stockley “not guilty” in the December 2011 fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar-Smith.
As the reports go, Stockley and his partner engaged in a car chase of Smith “after witnessing a suspected (heroin) drug transaction in a restaurant parking lot…”
The adrenalin rushing, during the chase one could clearly hear the audio in the police vehicle, and a voice identified as Stockley’s telling his partner, “We’re killing this mo’fer.”
The chase ended when Smith’s car smashed into a lamp pole, and was incapacitated. In the video we see Stockley emerge from his patrol car and walk towards Smith’s immobilized vehicle (we don’t see Smith), but we hear at least five gunshots. One can only assume he wanted to make sure Smith was dead.
Following the shooting we see Stockley in the video footage apparently looking for something in the back seat of his patrol car (according to the evidence, “rummaging through a bag in the back of the police vehicle…”).
Stockley said it was “to retrieve materials to render first aid” to Smith… who was dying, or probably already dead. He probably was also one of those proverbial “big bad Black guys.
It was also suggested that Stockley entered Smith’s car “to locate the weapon and render it safe…” There’s always “a story” in these white police-Black male shootings.
For its part the prosecution believed that a weapon allegedly found in Smith’s car – with only Stockley’s DNA – was planted by the defendant.
But in his ruling, Judge Wilson said the prosecution’s argument was “not supported by the evidence.”
Lucky guy that Jason Stockley.
As part of his defense in these police-on-Black-male-police shootings he pulled out that (police) trump card: “I feared for my life.” He said he acted in self-defense and believed Smith was reaching for a gun in his car.
And it worked – again.
On Friday, September 15, Judge Wilson found Stockley “not guilty.”
Once again the proverbial ‘shit hit the fan,’ this time, and for the second time in three years in St. Louis.
[There are so many of them, we quickly forget the most recent one. But recall unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot and killed in August 2014 by Darren Wilson, another white police officer, in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.]
Wilson, too, was exonerated.
In the wake there was rage: fire, tear gas and water… Almost the same as things are today in St. Louis.
In the wake of the verdict Stockley was on TV being interviewed, saying he feels like “a burden has been lifted, but the burden of having to kill someone never really lifts…”
A dead Black man, another lucky living former policeman!
“I can feel for and I understand what the family is going through, and I know everyone wants someone to blame, but I’m just not the guy…” Alright Jason; we’ve heard that line of thinking and talking before.
Reminds me of another of your ex-former colleagues involved in a hunting scene down in North Charleston, South Carolina in April 2015. It involved Walter Scott and officer Michael Slager, something about Scott and child support payments. He was a scofflaw.
Unfortunately, Scott was pulled over by Slager, allegedly for a broken signal light. Not wanting to be taken into custody, Scott jumped out of his car and made a run for it.
In the ensuing chase, Slager fired eight shots at the fleeing prey, Scott, five of which struck him in the back.
After the killing, Slager is seen kneeling over the dead man’s body, putting his arms behind his back and cuffing him. Like Jason Stockley Slager said he was “attempting to render aid to the victim by applying pressure to the gunshot wounds, and by helping to coordinate the emergency response…” one can also clearly see Slager planting a gun next to Scott’s body…
In his subsequent trial, Slager too, said he (shot Walter Scott because he) feared for his life, but video evidence showed and proved, otherwise.
By the way, why do policemen have to shoot [Black men], ninety-nine percent of the time unarmed, multiple times?
Here’s an aberration, unlike Jason Stockley, Michael Slager will be going to jail. Earlier this year he pled guilty to federal charges of civil rights violations. In return for his guilty plea, murder charges from the state will be dropped. (Even when they’re guilty white policemen have an excellent chance of getting away with murder). Slager’s plea carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Back in St. Louis, Judge Wilson is receiving kudos.
“He’s very methodical and a very objective judge…” a lawyer and former St. Louis circuit judge said.
The judge may be all those things. It’s just the regularity of “not guilty” verdicts in those recurring white police-fatal Black male shootings that have Black, as well as people from other racial, ethnic and cultural persuasions thinking that he and others across America are students of a certain institutionalized ethos and ideological school of thought.
But something that Judge (Wilson) wrote caused some raised eyebrows. “An urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly… It wouldn’t be unusual for Smith to have a gun.”
That sentiment only fuelled the anger and frustration of many in the African-American community who interpreted the statement as “code…” He also angered others who believe in the dispensation of equal justice for Americans of all persuasions.
And how about that video footage of a police officer making a routine stop on a Georgia thoroughfare?
Many of us have seen, or heard of the July 2016 incident. Dashcam footage shows the officer standing next to the car on the side of the road talking to the driver, reportedly a white woman.
When he tells her to reach for her mobile phone in her lap, she responds she’s scared to move her hands… because “I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops…” Apparently, she was commenting on the ongoing police shootings of Black men.
Even the white woman was scared, but she was quickly reassured when the officer interrupts by telling her, “But you’re not Black. Remember, we only kill Black people. Yeah. We only kill Black people, right?”
Rather than face disciplinary action and compromise his pension, the officer, who was apparently eligible for retirement, chose the latter.
Commenting on the incident, a head honcho officer stated that incidents “must be observed in their entirety to understand their context.”
We’ve heard such specious reasoning on several occasions – following another police shooting despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
Nothing funny about that incident, in fact it’s quite revealing…
Almost a week after the Jason Stockley “not guilty” verdict, protesters and activists are still taking to the streets of downtown St. Louis, some of them holding hands marching and praying, some with placards, others committing acts of mischief (under the cover of darkness), and the diehards in times like these always chanting the old cliché: “No justice, no peace!”
But the show and noise seem to fall on deaf ears; nothing changes.
And given the new political forces in power south of the border with its stated “law and order” agenda and other tacit underpinnings, look for more of the wanton killings of Black men.
Sure, Black Lives Matter, it’s just that white ones always matter more…