ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-Spurred on by the release of a newly released video showing the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith by former Officer Jason Stockley, a group of local clergy members is turning up the heat on St. Louis Police to stop the officer-involved shootings of black men.
They’re issuing 18 demands, including a Justice Department investigation of city police, a review of officer-involved shooting investigations and an update on how the department is instituting reforms.
In the Smith case, which resulted in Stockley being charged with murder earlier this year, they want to see documentation that shows who knew what, and when.
“We are committed to escalating,” says St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt, “some form of direct action until they get those answers.”
The Rev. Derrick Robinson promises that this group of clergy, which includes local Muslim leaders, will not give up, until its demands are met.
“As the faith-based community we will no longer be silent,” he says. “There are a lot of Stockleys in St. Louis and America.”
The Rev. Charles Brown said, “It’s a travesty that the police have decided to fashion a new form of hanging.”
In addition to reviewing previous officer-involved shooting investigations, including rulings by the U.S. Attorney and communications with state officials when the St. Louis Police Department was state-run, the group is calling on Congressman William “Lacy” Clay to get involved. It’s also requesting immediate meetings with Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R).
Members also want to see evidence of police reforms and see if the department has implemented recommendations in the Ferguson and Baltimore consent decrees.
Coordinator Phillip Duvall says they will not be easily appeased, “You can’t pick and choose the ‘handkerchief heads’ and the custodians of the status quo to come into the room and talk some business. We don’t want anymore sellouts speaking for us.”
Duvall was asked about the department’s efforts at community policing, including its ice cream truck, Operation Polar Cops, “The St. Louis City Police Department better not give me some ice cream, they better give me some justice.”
Among the group’s first actions, will be holding a series of listening sessions involving members of the community. The first will be held next Monday, October 3, at St. Luke Memorial Baptist Church, 3623 Finney Ave. St. Louis. The pastors stressed the need for young people to show up to discuss their experiences.
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