While we are not surprised by the verdict, coming as it does from a legal system entrenched in racism, we are horrified, once again. Our city and nation have been rocked by far too many decisions like this one—in the wake of the media spotlight given to protests after the murder of Michael Brown, it seems like every other day brings news of another black person shot, discarded, mocked, or ignored. We will not forget Anthony Lamar Smith, just as we have not forgotten Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd and Kiwi Herring; just as we still have not forgotten Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Kendra James, and the countless other victims of criminal police violence.
We ask: does justice look like Judge Wilson’s assumption that Anthony Lamar Smith had a gun at the time of his killing despite inconsistencies in the involved officers’ testimonies? Judge Wilson emphasized the reasonable doubt he had in the evidence of the prosecution, while introducing his own thinly veiled racial bias in stating “the Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.” The judge’s verdict and his explanation provides a clear example of the legal double standard for black people, especially black victims of police violence.
DSA strives to help create a just world, and the fight for racial justice stands at the forefront of that mission. To create a truly democratic society, all of us must stand up and speak out against racism and state violence. Ask questions, demand answers, listen actively, and turn up.
We stand in solidarity against state violence with our comrades from St. Louis to Charlottesville, from Brazil to Palestine. We will see you in the streets.
In solidarity forever,
STL DSA Executive Committee