Protestors Begin Receiving Checks After $4.9 Million Settlement

( – Protesting against the St. Louis Police Department appears to have been a smart financial decision for those involved in a recently finalized class-action lawsuit.

Payouts to a total of 84 individuals began on August 4th as part of a settlement that allowed the city to deny any wrongdoing regarding how the police treated a crowd of protestors following the 2017 acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley.

Stockley’s trial stemmed from his 2011 shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, who happened to be black. The officer and his partner reported seeing Smith exit his vehicle and then engage in what appeared to be a drug deal. Once Smith was back in his car, the officers attempted to pull him over. Smith failed to comply and led the pair into oncoming traffic during a high-speed chase that reached almost 90 mph.

Stockley’s partner eventually crashed their unit into the back of Smith’s car and ended the chase, but a post-crash altercation led Stockley to shoot and kill Smith. A firearm was retrieved from Smith’s car along with heroin that bore his DNA. Stockley was charged with first-degree murder, but acquitted.

Protestors aligned with BLM took to the streets of downtown St. Louis in response. Police in riot gear ordered the crowd to disperse, but around 120 people refused and were swept up by the department.

Allegations of police “kettling” emerged after the fact and many claimed that the department had used excessive force during their arrests. The indiscriminate use of pepper spray was among those allegations, and the events led to multiple lawsuits being filed.

The payouts of August 4th were the first in a $4.9 million settlement involving over 80 people. Check amounts are reported to range from $28,000 to $150,000.

STL has paid out over $10 million in settlements related to protests from Stockley’s acquittal, including $5 million to a black undercover officer who claimed his own department mistakenly assaulted him.

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