ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The family of a man fatally shot by former St. Louis Metropolitan police officer Jason Stockley will receive an additional $500,000 from taxpayers, according to a settlement agreement filed in federal court Thursday.
Anthony Lamar Smith was shot and killed by Stockley following a chase in 2011.
In 2013, Smith’s fiancé Christina Wilson and their minor daughter were awarded a $900,000 settlement in a federal wrongful death lawsuit regarding the case.
Then, in 2016, Stockley was charged with first-degree murder.
DNA evidence, witness statements, and the officer’s own words played a part in the controversial case. There was dramatic police dash camera video that captured a police chase before the fatal shooting.
In September, 2017, a judge acquitted Stockley of the charge.
But attorney Al Watkins, who represents Smith’s fiancé, claimed after the trial that city and state officials had failed to turn over crucial evidence in the previously-settled lawsuit.
The evidence was brought forward at the criminal trial: namely, that Stockley’s DNA was the only DNA present on a gun found in Smith’s car after the chase. Watkins claimed he was also unaware of cell phone video provided by a witness in the case.
Watkins stated officials were involved in a “cover-up” of misconduct before and after the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit in 2013. He demanded the lawsuit be revisited and initially asked for an additional $8 million in the case.
An investigation conducted by the Bryan Cave law firm found that the Attorney General’s Office, which handled the lawsuit, was aware of and failed to turn over information regarding the DNA evidence, prior to the lawsuit’s settlement. But the report said whether that was “simply inadvertently left out” or “intentionally withheld.”
Thursday’s settlement states that it is a contractual compromise to end litigation and is not an admission of any legal liability.
In a statement, St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush said:
"We hope and expect that this will resolve the litigation that has arisen out of a tragedy. Although the civil settlement and all of the alleged acts occurred while the control of the police force was with the State of Missouri through its old Board of Police Commissioners and accordingly the Board was represented by the Attorney General, the City acknowledges that the DNA reports that are the subject of the dispute now resolved should have been provided to the plaintiff prior to the 2013 settlement. Note that the ensuing investigation that culminated in the Goldsmith Report failed to find any evidence that the material was intentionally withheld by the police. As the Goldsmith report notes, police informed the Attorney General's office of the DNA reports prior to settlement of the civil claims. Because all of the alleged wrongful acts occurred during the time that the police force was a state agency, the City will pursue a claim for reimbursement from the State. The laws governing the transfer of the police force from the State to the City specifically provide that the State remains responsible for claims arising from incidents that occurred on its watch."
The settlement splits the payments between the city and the state, both comprising of taxpayer funds.
This is a developing story. Check back for additional details.