Protests planned in and around St. Louis as judge weighs ruling

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Activists are promising extensive protests if a ruling does not come soon in the murder trial of a former St. Louis police officer.

Family and supporters of Anthony Lamar Smith gathered Monday at the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. Smith was shot and killed in December 2011 by former officer Jason Stockley following an alleged drug deal and police pursuit.

Stockley stands accused of premeditated murder. His bench trial ended Aug. 9, but 22nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson has yet to make a ruling.

“I just want justice for Anthony and I want to know, why is it taking so long to get a verdict?” said Smith’s mother Niecey Smith during the gathering Monday.

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“We are asking at this time, what are we standing here waiting for? What are we really doing?” asked protestor Tory Russell. “Nothing in the last three years from Mike Brown to Vonderitt Myers to Mansur Ball-Bey tells me that we're going to get a guilty verdict.”

Russell said activists will hold organizing meetings Tuesday and Thursday night and they will begin demonstrating soon after.

Friday morning, Al Watkins, legal counsel for the fiance and surviving child of Anthony Lamar Smith, urged calm and patience before the decision is announced.

“Justice can be a cumbersome, nuanced and protracted process. Regardless of the verdict, the commitment of the State to prosecute Mr. Stockley is, in itself, an important part of all that is justice,” said Watkins, speaking on behalf of the mother of the sole surviving child of Mr. Smith.

“To the extent Mr. Smith can leave a legacy for his child to embrace, it is hoped our City can use this pre-Ferguson tragic loss of life to serve as a catalyst for post-Ferguson healing,” concluded Watkins.

A court spokesman told 5 On Your Side he couldn't comment on the specific case, but said there is no deadline for Judge Wilson to make his ruling. He also said the court, “Respects the rights of the group to express their opinion.

St. Louis Police say the department is prepared for any protests and they're asking anyone taking part to remain peaceful.