Category Archives: Local

Michael Brown Sr. Calls for New Trial

Michael Brown Sr. looks to have his son's case retried.

Michael Brown Sr. looks to have his son’s case retried.

By Free Radical

On the fifth anniversary of the death of his son, Michael Brown Sr. publicly requested that a new investigation be conducted on the events surrounding his killing. He made the announcement at the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri this past Friday.

Then St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough chose not to indict former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the 2014 death of Michael Brown.This decision had and continues to leaven an imprint on national politics. Locally, it resulted in the defeat of McCullough by Wesley Bell who campaigned on a progressive platform.

Brown Sr. hopes that Bell will reinvestigate Wilson and the events surrounding Michael Brown Jr.’s death in Ferguson in August 2019. The 2014 killing of Michael Brown, whose lifeless body remained in the street for hours, sparked outrage which made the St. Louis metro region ground zero for the Black Lives Matter movement. Michael Brown’s death was exacerbated by the investigation led by McCullough which many local and national observers considered a miscarriage of justice.

“Five years today, I lost my first born, my only son,” Brown said. “Although I have been forced to learn how to cope with his absence, I will never grasp the fact that my son will no longer be here and justice has not been served.”

After the local trial, Wilson was also cleared subsequently in a federal civil rights case.

In the aftermath, Brown Sr. created the Chosen for Change foundation to support fathers who have lost children to gun violence.

Several memorials were held locally and nationally to commemorate the life and legacy of Michael Brown on Friday, August 9, the five year anniversary of his death..

Wash U Student Claims Racial Profiling

A Washington University student claims she was profiled by area police.

A Washington University student claims that she was racially profiled by area police.

By Free Radical

In what seems to be a growing trend, another African-American studentat Washington University has claimed that she was racially profiled. In a Facebook post on July 14, Tay Armani reported a harrowing incident where she she was harassed by Webster Groves police.

In her account, she and another Black woman passenger were asked to pull over by a police officer on July 1. Armani says that the policeman, who she identified as having the last name Golden, immediately banged on her window. She and the other passenger were ordered to exit the vehicle. Golden refused to see her registration papers and in fact said they “meant nothing.” Armani also says that Golden threatened to bust out her car windows if she did not exit.

When the two travelers did exit they were detained for nearly two hours on a dark road past midnight. Upon complaining about their treatment, one of the officers who joined Golden, told them that if they “didn’t like it then we could leave St. Louis.” Though the women were not arrested Armani, was issued a ticket.

Armani never received an apology from the officers but her Facebook post about the incident went viral.

This likely caused Webster Groves police captain Stephen Spear to explain the incident at a  City Council meeting on July 16. According to his account, Armani’s vehicle was flagged by the automated license plate reader of a University City police officer. The car was detected as being stolen. However, Spear said it was later revealed that the car was allegedly taken from a tow yard without the owner having paid the tow fees.

Spear also said that the Webster Groves police department has not received a formal complaint. However, on her Facebook post, Armani urged viewers to contact the East Central Dispatch Center at (314) 645-3000 to complain about the officer’s rogue tactics.

This is not the first time that Black students at Washington University have been profiled by St. Louis County police.

Almost a year to the date, in July 2018, the city of Clayton apologized for harassing and embarrassing ten Black incoming freshmen at Wash U. The students were stopped by Clayton police while leaving a local IHOP restaurant. The officers accused them of ditching the restaurant without paying. The students then had to march three blocks back to the restaurant with a police escort only to be told that they were not the suspected diners.

The city of Clayton was lambasted by area residents and Washington University who called the police actions “unacceptable.”

For their part, Clayton’s official statement expressed, “We are so sorry this was the start for these newest Washington University Bears. For more than one hundred years we have welcomed university students from around the world to be a part of our community. While it is our duty to respond when businesses call for help, we aim to do this in a way that is as respectful and safe for all concerned as we can be.”

The post failed to mention that Black students could not attend Wash U until 1952.

Investigator into Greitens Case Charged

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been the subject of targeted attacks after pursuing reforms of the city’s criminal justice and law enforcement systems.

By MCNS Staff

According to local reports, the former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to help in the criminal investigation of then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is now facing charges.

St. Louis Public Radio reports special prosecutor Gerard Carmody announced Monday that a grand jury has charged William Tisaby with seven felony counts, including multiple perjury charges. His conduct during the investigation was a factor in prosecutors dropping the felony invasion of privacy charge against the governor.

Per request from the St. Louis Police Department, Carmody was appointed by a judge per almost a year ago to investigate the way Tisaby handled the investigation. Gardner fought Carmody’s appointment all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Gardner hired Tisaby in January 2018, days after Greitens admitted that he had an affair with his hair stylist, a woman identified by her initials K.S. The former governor was later charged with invasion of privacy alleging that Greitens took a semi-nude picture of K.S. without her consent, and then transferring it in a way that it could be accessed by a computer.

Gardner said she needed to hire an outside investigator because St. Louis police refused to look into the case. The department says it was never asked to investigate.

According to the contract, Tisaby and his Michigan-based company, Enterra, were paid $250 an hour to “provide consulting advice to (the circuit attorney’s office) to the extent requested, conduct an independent investigation into potential criminal (and civil) liability of the governor under the guidance of the CAO,” and to testify at any trial as needed.

In response to the investigation, Greitens’s attorney filed several motions accusing Tisaby of lying about the way he questioned several key witnesses, including K.S. The attorneys eventually filed to have the Greitens’ charge dismissed. Greitens’s defense team accused Gardner of allowing Tisaby to lie under oath by not correcting him when he claimed, among other things, that he did not take notes during key interviews. She had been in the room for several of his interviews.

St. Louis Public Radio reports that Gardner’s former chief trial assistant Robert Dierker, now an attorney for the city of St. Louis, admitted in court that Tisaby had created a “terrible appearance,” and that relying on the investigator was “an egregious mistake.” Judge Rex Burlison decided not to dismiss the case, but he ordered Tisaby to appear for a second deposition. The investigator would refuse to answer questions, citing his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Prosecutors dropped the invasion of privacy case against Greitens after Burlison ruled defense attorneys could call Gardner as a witness to testify about Tisaby’s conduct. Gardner said if she had to testify, her office couldn’t prosecute the case.

Greitens eventually struck a deal with Gardner in which he resigned in exchange for her office dropping a separate charge that he had misused a charity donor list for his campaign. The agreement prevented Greitens or his attorneys from suing Gardner or any of her employees in civil court for how she handled both the donor list and invasion of privacy cases.

A spokeswoman for Gardner did not immediately return requests for comment. Neither did attorneys for Tisaby, or the former governor.

Circuit Attorney Gardner has been targeted since beginning social justice and law enforcement reform from her office, which has placed pressure on city police and policies.

MO Lawmakers Pass Abortion Ban

Missouri has joined other conservative states in passing a law that severely restricts abortions.

Missouri has joined other conservative states in passing a law that severely restricts women’s right to get abortions.

By MCNS Staff

Following a nationwide conservative swell, the Missouri Senate voted on Friday to ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. The only exception would be cases of medical emergencies, which would not include rape or incest.

Democrats in the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday slammed the pending legislation, according to local reports. The legislation now goes to Governor Mike Parsons who is expected to sign it.

The Missouri bill comes as abortion opponents across the US pass similar legislation severely limiting abortion rights. Observers suggest the bills flow from a national push to influence the more conservative U.S. Supreme Court will overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Alabama lawmakers have passed a similar bill and sent it to state’s Republican governor for signature Tuesday.