Political News

Police videos are focus at St. Louis officer's trial

Posted August 3

— The FBI was asked to join the investigation into a white St. Louis police officer's fatal shooting of a black man after the department viewed dashboard and in-car camera videos from a chase that preceded the shooting, according to testimony Thursday in the officer's first-degree murder trial.

Lt. Kirk Deeken, of the St. Louis police department's Internal Affairs Division, did not reveal what was on the videos made before Officer Jason Stockley shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith after the judge allowed only limited questioning of Levinson about what was on the videos, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

Stockley, 36, is charged with first-degree murder in the December 2011 death of Smith, a drug suspect who was shot after leading police on a chase that began when Stockley and his partner witnessed what they thought was a drug transaction. When the chase ended, Stockley shot Smith five times.

Prosecutors say Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after shooting him. Stockley's attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said in an opening statement that Smith had a gun in the car and Stockley shot him in self-defense.

In Thursday's testimony, Deeken said he asked for DNA analysis of the .38-caliber revolver seized from Smith's car after viewing photos of the gun and seeing what he thought might be blood. A crime lab scientist testified Wednesday that his tests showed the DNA apparently did not come from blood on the gun but he could not identify the source.

In earlier testimony Thursday, FBI forensic chemist Doug Halepaska testified that one of the five rounds that killed Smith was fired from within 6 inches, something that prosecutors had claimed in opening statements Tuesday.

Halepaska said he based his findings on examinations of gunshot residue on Smith's bloody clothing. Under cross examination, Halepaska acknowledged he could not replicate environmental conditions in his laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, or know how weather conditions could affect his tests.

After Thursday, the trial was scheduled to recess until Tuesday. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson is hearing the case after Stockley waived his right to a jury trial.

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