Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has released results of the investigation into alleged wrongdoing in a 2012 civil lawsuit over the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black drug suspect who was shot and killed former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Jason Stockley in 2011.
The probe reveals that under previous Attorney General Chris Koster, his office on numerous occasions failed to disclose crucial laboratory results.
The lab findings show that Stockley’s DNA was the only identifiable DNA evidence on a gun alleged to have been in Smith’s possession.
Stockley killed Smith in his car after a pursuit in 2011. In a statement, Hawley said the investigation headed by attorney Hal Goldsmith of the law firm Bryan Cave concluded that both the Koster Administration and the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners were aware of DNA evidence that they failed to disclose in a timely manner to the plaintiff.
Hawley released an edited investigation to satisfy attorney-client privilege and duties of client confidentiality, saying he’s seeking signed waivers from the Board and Stockley to publish the full report.
Attorneys representing Autumn Smith, the surviving minor child of Anthony Lamar Smith, brought a lawsuit 2012. The suit alleged federal civil rights violations as well as a wrongful death claim against the Board and Stockley.
The plaintiffs claimed Stockley had “planted” the gun, a Taurus revolver, in Smith’s vehicle after Stockley shot and killed him in order to justify the shooting death of Smith.
Having no knowledge of the lab results showing that only Stockley’s DNA was on was the gun, the plaintiff’s settled their lawsuit in mediation in 2013, agreeing to accept $900,000 from The Board and Stockley.
It became publicly known during the 2016 murder trial of Stockley that after the 2011 incident, a firearms examiner had taken and preserved swabs from the trigger, grip and rough areas of the gun for processing for the existence of DNA evidence.
On at least two occasions in July of 2012 and January of 2013, the attorney general’s office did not produce the firearms examiner’s report to the plaintiffs.
The office also failed to disclose the lab report reflecting that Officer Stockley’s DNA was on the gun. Twice after making requests for records and materials in April of 2013, the plaintiffs were finally made aware of the firearms examiner’s report, but not the DNA evidence.
The investigation concluded that although the attorney general’s office had been truthful in telling the plaintiffs that its file had no “report” concerning DNA testing, at least one of its lawyers, the lead Assistant Attorney General, was aware of the DNA testing results prior to the June 20, 2013 Mediation and settlement.
The investigation found no evidence the attorney general’s office or the St. Louis Police Department had knowledge of a video of the shooting recorded by the owner of the nightclub located next to the scene of the 2011 incident. The existence of the video was first revealed to the public by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in June of 2016.