ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–An attorney for the family of the man shot-and-killed by then-St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley is asking a federal court to re-open the wrongful death civil case, alleging authorities withheld key DNA evidence during discovery.
Attorney Albert Watkins says the Missouri Attorney General’s office and the St. Louis Police board suppressed DNA evidence that should have been shared before a settlement was reached on behalf of the family of Anthony Lamar Smith.
“When you have the compromise of the integrity of our federal civil rights system, you’ve got a big problem on your hands,” Watkins said, “And the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri–they’d better belly up to the bar and get well ahead of this freight train, because it’s coming down the tracks at a high rate of speed.”
Smith was shot and killed by Stockley after a high-speed chase in December of 2011. Stockley was accused of–and acquitted of–murder in a 2017 criminal trial that included DNA evidence from the gun Stockley claimed he found in Smith’s car.
The evidence showed Stockley’s DNA on the gun–but not Smith’s–prompting the prosecution to accuse Stockley of planting the gun after the shooting.
Stockely denied planting the gun, and his claim was bolstered by DNA experts who testified for the prosecution. The experts testified under cross examination that it’s possible for someone to handle a gun and not leave DNA on it.
But Watkins says the DNA evidence would have made a significant difference in the civil lawsuit, because the burden of proof is lower.
It’s not “beyond a reasonable doubt,” it’s based on the “preponderance of the evidence,” Watkins said.
Watkins’ motion asks the federal court to set aside the original lawsuit out of court for $900,000–so he can seek even higher damages.
And the motion also seeks a finding of contempt against the city of St. Louis and the Missouri Attorney General’s office for withholding evidence.