The killing of the black, unarmed 18-year-old by a white officer and the November 2014 grand jury decision not to indict Wilson sets off sometimes-violent unrest and leads to scrutiny of police treatment of blacks in the St. Louis region.
"This Court, in conscience, can not say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense", Wilson wrote in his ruling.
The chase reached almost 90 miles per hour before Stockley told Bianchi to ram their SUV into Smith's auto, which deployed Smith's air bags. Prosecutors said the officer planted a gun in Smith's auto after the shooting.
"A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism ..." Dozens of police officers on bicycles blocked the protesters from reaching the freeway.
A St. Louis Circuit judge found Jason Stockley not guilty of killing Anthony Lamar Smith.
She says dashcam video of the Stockley shooting is an example of why there must be change.
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Smith was shot five times - in the neck, upper chest and forearm and twice in his left flank.
During the trial, prosecutors grilled law enforcement witnesses on why Stockley was allowed to return to his police SUV and search Smith's silver Buick without wearing gloves and why the other responding officers did not give Smith first aid at the scene.
Stockley, who was only one of two people to take the stand for the defense, said he was justified using deadly force because Smith's auto hit him. The officer wasn't charged but later resigned. One officers says that he felt odd about what Stockley was doing in the vehicle, Fox 2 reported. He said he placed it in his pocket and never used it because, upon visual inspection, Smith didn't have a lot of blood outside his body.
During the subsequent pursuit, Stockley acknowledged under cross-examination that it sounded like he was "going to kill that (expletive)". Officers were acquitted in recent police shooting trials in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Stockley claimed he fired in self-defense. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial. That's where he was seen going back and forth between the restaurant and his vehicle; Stockley testified that he saw what he believed to be a drug sale.
But prosecutors questioned why Stockley dug into a bag in the back seat of the police SUV before returning to Smith's vehicle.
At the time of his death, Smith was 24 and had a 1-year-old daughter. Stockley's attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said the ex-officer on Friday was relieved and would seek to rebuild his life. Bianci holstered his weapon while standing by the driver's side of Smith's auto at the fast food restaurant where Stockley claims Bianchi yelled gun.