<> on May 30, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona.
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Former St. Louis Cop Recorded Saying He Was Going To Kill Black Motorist Acquitted Of His Murder

The judge wasn't convinced that Jason Stockley intentionally killed 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. 

A former St. Louis police officer has been acquitted of murder six years after he took the life of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. On Friday (Sept. 15), a judge found 36-year-old Jason Stockley, not guilty in the 2011 slaying of Smith, who was shot five times through the window of his car.

According to St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson, the court wasn’t “convinced” of Stockley’s guilt.

“This Court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense,” Wilson wrote in his ruling adding that the court “agonizingly” poured over the evidence “again and again.”

Stockley was arrested and charged with Smith's murder last year.

The confusing account of what led to Smith’s death surrounds a firearm which prosecutors argued Stockley planted in the victim’s car, as his DNA was found on the weapon and Smith’s was not, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

However, Stockley claimed that he shot Smith in self-defense following a short police pursuit after Smith was suspected of selling drugs in the parking lot of a Church’s chicken. Stockley and his partner, Brian Bianchi, drove up behind Smith’s Buick, and a chase ensued that lasted around three minutes.

According to Wilson’s ruling, Smith “frantically” sped off hitting the marked police vehicle and another car. "Smith drove off the parking lot, striking the hand of Stockley, who had a gun drawn, and Smith sped away,” wrote Wilson. “Bianchi swung at the driver's door of the Buick with his gun, breaking the window."

Roughly “45 seconds” before the pursuit ended, dash cam footage recorded Stockley saying, “we're killing this motherf*cker, don't you know."

Although Stockley testified that he did make the statements, Wilson says that the full “context” of his words were unclear.  "People say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations,” the judge concluded.

Bianchi did not testify in the trail.

Wilson also believes the revolver found in Smith’s car was too big to have been planted, and that Stockley didn’t act as though he “intentionally” killed Smith.

”The Court does not believe Stockley's conduct immediately following the end of the pursuit is consistent with the conduct of a person intentionally killing another person unlawfully," he wrote.

Smith’s airbag deployed following the deadly incident, blocking eyewitnesses and the police dash cam from recording all that transpired in and around the vehicle. But Wilson is apparently convinced that Smith had a gun because “an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”

The case in one of the last that Wilson will rule over because he turns 70 in December, which is the mandatory retirement age for Missouri judges.

Meanwhile, protests are expected to continue following the verdict. Al Watkins. A lawyer for Smith’s young daughter told STL Public Radio, that he respects the court decision in spite of his disappointment over the “appalling” ruling.

“This one's appalling given the amount of evidence involved,” Watkins said. “You don't get video and audio of a guy with a badge saying in the minutes preceding his shooting of somebody 'We're gonna kill this [motherf*cker], don't you know.'"

Stockley was the first officer in the St. Louis area since 2005 to be charged in an officer-involved shooting while on duty. He left the police department in 2013.

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Kentucky AG Criticized For Celebrating Engagement While Breonna Taylor Case Stalls

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron continues to garner criticism over the investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death. The most recent round of backlash came after photos of Cameron’s engagement party surfaced online over the weekend.

Cameron, a Louisville native, was slammed for celebrating his engagement while the cops who killed Taylor remain free. Beyonce’s mother, Tina Lawson, joined the chorus of criticism.

“I was shocked to learn that the attorney general for Kentucky is a 34 year old black man. A republican. When Breonna’s Mother Tamika asked to speak with him, he had someone else call her,” Lawson wrote in part on Monday (June 28).

According to TMZ, Taylor’s family agreed with Lawson’s  reaction.

 

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I was shocked to learn that the attorney general for Kentucky is a 34 year old black man. A republican . When Breonna’s Mother Tamika asked to speak with him , he had someone else call her. ! 💔💔 When he ran for office there are a lot of Black people that were excited and thought oh my God maybe we have a fair chance now because it will be a black man in this position ! He will be fair and unbiased towards Black people. They voted for him. Well That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on people who are running for office . I have no problem with who he marries , that is his personal business. That is not what this post is about ! I just don’t understand his actions !!! And where are their masks ?

A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson) on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:39pm PDT

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot and killed inside her apartment in March. Protests continued in Kentucky this past weekend, amid continued demands for justice in the case.

Last month, Beyonce penned an open letter urging Cameron to arrest Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officer Myles Cosgrove and former LMPD officer Brett Hankison.

On Monday, several LMPD officers walked out of a meeting with LMPD Interim Chief Robert Schroeder after he refused to discuss whether or not he agreed with the mayor’s assertion that the tree officers should be fired for killing Taylor.

Meanwhile, Cameron has asked the public for patience. “My heart is heavy concerning the fear and unrest in our city following the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor,” reads a statement posted on his Instagram account on May 29. “It weighs on me, as I know it does for many of my fellow Kentuckians who are grappling with the tragic events here and in other cities across the country.”

The post goes on to state that Cameron’s office isn’t handling the full LMPD probe, and that the investigation will take time in order to be “done correctly.” The office is awaiting the conclusion of the LMPD report, Cameron said.

The FBI opened an independent investigation into the shooting in May. “At the conclusion of this investigation, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division will determine if the officers’ actions violated federal law,” the statement continues. “Our office will determine if any state laws were violated. We will continue to work with our federal colleagues in our effort to find the truth.”

Cameron’s Instagram post has received more than 18,000 comments, many of which are lambasting him for the engagement photos and the slow pace of the investigation. “Shame on you,” read one comment while another added, “Stop protecting these officers.”

Read the full post below.

 

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Statement from Attorney General Cameron regarding the investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor:

A post shared by Daniel Cameron (@danieljaycameron) on May 29, 2020 at 12:24pm PDT

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NASA Names Washington D.C. Headquarters After Trailblazing Engineer Mary W. Jackson

NASA is naming its building headquarters in Washington D.C. after trailblazer Mary W. Jackson, the agency announced on Wednesday (June 24). Jackson was the first Black female engineer at NASA.

“We are honored that NASA continues to celebrate the legacy of our mother and grandmother Mary W. Jackson,” said Jackson’s daughter, Carolyn Lewis. “She was a scientist, humanitarian, wife, mother, and trailblazer who paved the way for thousands of others to succeed, not only at NASA, but throughout this nation.”

Jackson’s remarkable story was chronicled in the film, Hidden Figures, alongside Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden.

“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible.”

Multiple NASA facilities around the country are named after, “people who dedicated their lives to push the frontiers of the aerospace industry,” noted Bridenstine.

Jackson was born and raised in Hampton, Va., in 1921. She went on to earn a degree in math and physical science from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in 1942. She worked as a math teacher, bookkeeper, and U.S Army secretary prior to being recruited by NASA in the early 1950s.

Jackson initially worked under Vaughn as a NASA mathematician in a segregated computing unit. After two years in the West Area Computing Unit, Jackson moved to a 4-foot-by-4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel where her supervisor suggested she join a training program to become a NASA engineer.

Jackson completed the course at the segregated Hampton High School and had to receive special permission to study with her white colleagues. In 1958, Jackson earned a promotion, and simultaneously made history as the first Black woman to become a NASA engineer. In 1979, she joined Langley’s Federal Women’s Program, where she worked to address the hiring and promotion of a new generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists. Jackson retired from Langley in 1985.

She passed away in 2005.

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All 3 Men Involved In Ahmaud Abery’s Death Indicted On Murder Charges

A Georgia grand jury indicted Travis and Greg McMichael, and William R. Bryan for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond,” Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes said at a press conference on Wednesday (June 24).

Bryan and the McMichael are each charged with malice murder, as well as four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

BREAKING: a grand jury has indicted Greg + Travis McMichael and William Bryan on murder charges in #AhmaudArbery’s death.

Read the indictment here: pic.twitter.com/ASSMQ2iCh2

— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) June 24, 2020

Arbery, 25, was killed in February while out for a jog in his Georgia neighborhood. His story didn't gain national attention until nearly two months later, when Bryan's cell phone footage of the murder was leaked by an attorney who consulted with the three men. The video shows Arbery being cornered by the McMichaels and shot to death as Bryan filmed the violent incident. The McMichaels, who are father and son, claim that they mistook Arbery for a supposed robbery suspect and were attempting a citizen’s arrest that turned fatal.

Arbery’s murder strengthened calls for Georgia introduce legislation against hate crimes. On Tuesday (June 23), the state legislature finally approved a hate crime bill which will impose harsher “sentencing of defendants for crimes involving bias or prejudice.”

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, reacted to the legislation in an interview Atlanta’s 11Alive. “I’m happy that Ahmaud’s name will be part of such big change, but at the same time, I have to snap back into reality that Ahmaud is gone, but his name will live forever.”

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