[JURIST] A St. Louis, Missouri, circuit judge on Friday acquitted [ruling, PDF] a former police officer accused of first degree murder for the shooting of a black man. Jason Stockley was pursuing Anthony Lamar during a high-speed chase when evidence post-chase becomes inconclusive according to the court. Judge Timothy Wilson [official profile] stated that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof. “This Court, as trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant’s guilt. Agonizingly, this Court has poured over the evidence again and again … 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 defendant did not act in self-defense.”
Tensions have risen further around the country since the Ferguson rioting. In August US President Donald Trump signed an executive order [JURIST report] that will lift an Obama-era directive that restricted local police agencies’ access to military equipment. In May a Tulsa police officer was found not guilty [JURIST report] of shooting an unarmed black man. Earlier in May the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for former Police Officer Roy Oliver over the murder of Jordan Edwards, a young black man.