As people continue to struggle in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri following the acquittal of St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley for the 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, Liberation News took the opportunity to speak with St. Louis activist Toni Taylor from the Cary On the Ball Foundation.
Cary On the Ball Foundation honors Taylor’s son, Cary Terrell Ball Jr. who was killed by St. Louis police in 2013, and aims to help other families fighting for justice after police have killed their loved one. “We step in and advocate for families in pursuit of justice.” Her son Cary was studying human services and so to honor his memory they support other families that are going through the same tragedy. “There is no book on how to fight the police,” she said, so the foundation helps families so they can get the police report or recover the body of their loved one.
When I reached out to Taylor to ask her for the interview, she wrote back, “I feel that it’s important to let the world know the truth about what’s going on here in St Louis.”
So I asked her, “What is the truth about what is going on in St. Louis right now?”
Taylor replied forthrightly, “Right now, St. Louis is having an uprising, about all injustices all around the world and mainly at home, where Jason Stockley, a St. Louis police officer, shot and killed a young man by the name of Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011… The verdict was not guilty.
“I think a lot of folks knew it was going to be not guilty but they didn’t think it would happen in the manner that it did. The judge didn’t call the family in and sit down with them and tell them why it was not guilty. He decided to email it. That upset a lot of people. That particular judge is retiring in November of this year. Also he left the very same day, jumped on a plane and went out of town.
“So it was the manner in which everything took place, with disregard for the life of Anthony Lamar Smith, disregard for his family, disregard for the people. A lot of people are tired of that, especially after the uprising here in Ferguson with Mike Brown Jr. That is what is happening in St. Louis, and I want to tell the truth about it because I don’t think the mainstream media tells the truth.”
It was in St. Louis County that the struggle erupted in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 following the police killing of 18 year old Michael Brown Jr.. The courageous uprising that erupted there drew national and international attention to the ongoing deep-rooted crisis of racist police terror in Ferguson and all over the U.S.
I asked about the shocking images we have been seeing in the media of the St. Louis police targeting older women protesters.
“Yes, they were strangling an elderly lady. That’s because the elderly that are out there, stay out there, they just go home and change clothes then they go right back out where they were, so the police know who to target. Like I’m a target, talking to you right now, we all here in St. Louis speaking out, we are targets. Like our activist Darren Seals. “ Seals, she pointed out, is the sixth local activist found shot dead in a burning car. “Do you know how shocking it was to all of us to know that he was the sixth activist found murdered in that manner?”
Taylor emphasized that the police targeting those that speak up is an ongoing issue. “They attack 13 year old boys. About two years ago Jeff Roorda, the president of the white police officer’s association attacked a female in a wheelchair at a meeting at City Hall, Heather, one of our media people, who tells the truth. She fights behind the scenes so they made her a target.
“People who go to town hall meetings are being followed after they leave. That’s intimidation. You go to internal affairs, they all police each other.”
What else would she like to tell the readers of Liberation News?
“Some of our demands are that we have a better civilian review board, for St. Louis City Police, with subpoena rights, we are trying to get subpoena rights, and we really want to see some of these old cases re-opened.” She explained that they are specifically fighting to get old cases from St. Louis city reopened. Many people from outside the area may not understand the Ferguson is a municipality in St. Louis County, but the county also includes the city of St. Louis and there are many cases there that need to be re-opened. “And I would love for the Department of Justice to come in and do an investigation of the St. Louis city police.”