Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Bet the Blue Line [AUDIO]

in Audio/U.S. by



One more black man killed.

One more white killer freed.

For the third consecutive day, St. Louis protestors chanted in opposition to the not guilty bench verdict of officer Jason Stockley who fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black. The protests ended with tear gassing and arrests, as they did on Friday and Saturday, when several of the protestors broke windows and pulled plants from decorative planters, resulting in hundreds of dollars of damage.

The protestors chanted to the police, “stop killing us.”

These protests followed a similar pattern to Ferguson, Mo, in 2014 that resulted in months of demonstrations and even violence as citizens expressed their anger over the police shooting of Michael Brown.

One more body, one more threat to one

armed cop with his gun raised to shoot.

The facts:

Squad car approached suspect.

The suspect ran. He reversed his van.


Slammed into squad car.

Defendant says:

”Ram the mother fucker.

We’ll kill him, don’t ya know?”

His partner, not slow on the

Uptake, ploughs into suspect.

Suspect van stalls.

Defendant charges.

Suspect stays in van.

Defendant raises gun.

Suspect raises hands

then looks away.

Defendant fires.

Five shots land while,

(defendant claims)

suspect tries for weapon.

“Stockley first shot at Smith’s car in a Church’s Chicken parking lot at Thekla Avenue and Riverview Boulevard after, police said, Smith reached for something in his car and drove toward the officers. Smith sped away and the chase began, ending in a crash about a mile away. Stockley then shot Smith five times after, Stockley contends, he again saw Smith reach for something. Police said they found heroin and a gun in Smith’s vehicle. Smith was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

St. Louis Magazine, September 7, 2017

The gun?

Oh, that gun.

Found after defendant

burrowed through squad car,

burrowed through his duffle

and only then did he run to

the van and, reaching between

the seats, produced the gun.

The DNA?

It was his own.

Suspect’s prints could not be found.

The judge’s ruling? No concern.

He bought heroin and, besides,

Drug dealers don’t belong in St. Louis.

There were several officers standing around adjacent to the driver’s side of the Buick and not one of them was called to testify that they saw Stockley plant a gun in the Buick…

The court observes that, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, an urban drug dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly….

The court does not believe Stockley’s conduct immediately following the end of the pursuit is consistent with the conduct of a person intentionally killing another person unlawfully.

Judge Timothy J. Wilson

The rage.

This rage

it wells and swells

swells and wells

wells and swells

and swells until

we sweep this city

to the sea.

“Everyone wants someone to blame, but I’m just not the guy.”

Jason Stockley

Read More:
St. Louis reacts to not guilty verdict in Jason Stockley case [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Jason Stockley not guilty verdict: how did it happen? [Newsweek]
Jason Stockley not guilty verdict: 5 fast facts you should know [Heavy]

Former educator and community activist, Phillip T. Stephens retired to to write novels Raising Hell, Seeing Jesus and Cigerets, Guns & Beer.

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