The ex-cop who shot and killed a black motorist in St. Louis, Missouri has been acquitted of murder.
Jason Stockley shot and killed 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith after a chase over a suspected drug deal in December 2011, according to CNN. Stockley defended himself, claiming that he thought Smith was reaching for a gun in his car, although the prosecution accused Stockley of planting the gun in question to exonerate himself.
"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," said St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson in explaining his ruling. "Given that the State here has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant's use of deadly force was not justified in self-defense, the Court need not address lesser degrees of homicide including involuntary manslaughter."
Not surprisingly, the verdict has been met with passionate responses on Twitter.
There was also some on the ground reporting.
The overwhelming consensus among racial justice advocates was that Smith's supporters should fully exercise their right to peaceful protest.
"What the country needs to know is, every single person in our country, we have a right to be mad. We have a right to disagree. We have a right to express our opinion. We have a right to protest," said Al Watkins, an attorney who represented Smith's former fiancée, Christina Wilson.