St. Louis, Missouri — Demonstrators flood the streets of downtown St. Louis in protest over the controversial “not guilty” verdict for Jason Stockley, the former St. Louis police officer who was on trial for shooting and killing an unarmed African American man, Anthony Lamar Smith, in December 2011.
As the city along with its local law enforcement, brace for the worst, CNN sent their correspondent, Ryan Young to cover the ongoing protests in downtown St. Louis, which for the most part have been non-violent. However, in the most awkward and troubling of reporting, CNN’s Jake Tapper who was hosting his show “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” went to Young for a live update as to the current situation on the ground in St, Louis.
Everything seemed like a professionally curated piece by Young until he said this, “Look there’s video involved as well. The officers were heard saying ‘I’m gonna kill that N-word’ and then of course that shooting happened.” The problem is, Jason Stockley never said that.
What Stockley did say however, was this ” I’m going to kill this mother [expletive], don’t you know it!” And that is clearly seen and heard in a video of both dash camera footage and audio released by St. Louis Police Department in the fall of last year.
This video, which has been available to the public for at least a year, was used by the prosecution to not only claim that Stockley murdered Anthony Lamar Smith, but also planted a gun on Smith in an attempt to cover up the potential crime. It is unknown as to why CNN correspondent Ryan Young changed the key portion of this narrative nor is this report suggesting that Stockley is innocent or guilty, the court system did that.
But what is apparent is that during such a highly charged situation with protests on the streets of St. Louis claiming racial bias from the court system in this trial, this type of narrative can prove to be quite volatile and possibly be used to spark off violence., something the city of St. Louis remembers all too well from the riots in Ferguson where another unarmed African American, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. Who was also found not guilty of murder and the shooting was deemed self defense.
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