Protesters Attempt to Close St. Louis Roads After Police Shooting Verdict

Mike Coppola Getty Images

Mike Coppola Getty Images

Smith was shot 5 times in his auto after trying to escape from Stockley and his partner who were following him on an alleged drug deal. Stockley maintains his statement that he was acting in self-defense.

"I'm sad, I'm hurt, I'm mad", the Reverend Clinton Stancil of the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis told Reuters by telephone.

The white officer in that case was cleared of wrongdoing.

St. Louis law enforcement officials, who asked not to be named, previously said they expect Judge Timothy Wilson's ruling sometime Friday. "But this is a protest that addresses injustices not only happening here in St Louis but around the country".

The clashes erupted when police confronted a small group of demonstrators as the protest moved over the course of the evening, from the courthouse where the verdict was read to a busy neighborhood.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) activated the Missouri National Guard on Thursday, prior to the verdict, in anticipation of an acquittal, CNN reports.

Authorities say Smith, 24, tried to flee from Stockley on December 20, 2011.

Stockley had said he acted in self-defence and believed Smith was reaching for a gun in his vehicle, but prosecutors accused the officer of planting a silver revolver to justify the shooting.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said she was "disappointed" with the judge's decision.

After a three-minute high-speed chase, Mr Stockley told his partner, who was in the driver's seat, to ram Mr Smith's vehicle. Smith, who was African-American, tried to evade the officer during a high-speed chase and, when Stockley apprehended him, he claimed that he felt he was in imminent danger and shot the suspect five times.

Stockley waived his right to a jury trial, though prosecutors pushed for it. St Louis police reported that 10 officers had suffered injuries, including a broken jaw and dislocated shoulder, and some journalists reported being threatened by demonstrators.

Smith's family in 2013 settled a lawsuit filed against the city for $900,000, the family's lawyer, Albert Watkins, said.