Statements from the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid Caucus (BALA) & The Legal Aid Society on Verdict of St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley for Killing of Anthony Lamar Smith

The Black Attorneys of Legal Aid Caucus strongly denounces the verdict issued on September 15, 2017 in St. Louis, in which Officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of Murder for the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. Once again, a police officer has killed a black man who was not armed, claiming that he feared for his safety. And once again, the criminal “justice” system has sanctioned this killing by refusing to hold the officer accountable for his actions.

"This verdict reaffirms a bitter truth that we, as black people, must grapple with on a daily basis: Black life continues to be of no value in this society. Wearing a police uniform confers authority upon the wearer to kill black people with apparent impunity, and the whole populace—whether we choose to individually acknowledge it or not—understands this. It is incumbent upon those of us who care about equality, care about justice, and care about the rights of people to live as human beings, to stand up and be counted. It is incumbent upon those of us who care about true equality to demand actual accountability of law enforcement officers. Flagrant miscarriages of justice like those evident in this death of Anthony Lamar Smith; in the case of Eric Garner; in the case of Tamir Rice; in the case of Sandra Bland and so many others will not be abated unless we make our voices heard."


The Legal Aid Society stands in support of the statement issued by BALA (Black Attorneys of Legal Aid Caucus):

"Our clients’ lives are constantly interrupted by over policing practices, and too often these encounters have tragic and unjust outcomes. This verdict forces all of us to once again confront the issues of systemic racism, violence and lack of law enforcement accountability. We must continue this nationwide discussion about police brutality and the senseless killings of members in the Black community. The Legal Aid Society will not let this verdict deter our mission, we will continue to expose and challenge implicit and explicit racism within our legal system, while demanding equal justice for all. We are committed to advancing police accountability through our impact litigation, advocacy and community efforts. Our thoughts and support are with Anthony Lamar Smith’s family; the communities that support him and the same communities we continue to fight for every single day."