Category Archives: Local

Demonstrations Outside Ballpark Village Bring Out Anger, Racist Taunts

Protests held outside Ballpark Village Saturday night.

Protests held outside Ballpark Village Saturday night.

By S. Christopher Emerson

Protests outside a St. Louis Cardinals game Saturday brought out arguments and racist taunts from some baseball fans.

Around 100 demonstrators gathered at Ballpark Village Saturday night to mark the three-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, Jr. and to protest a white nationalist tiki-torch rally Friday and confrontation Saturday on the campus of University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.

Protesters in St. Louis chanted “This is what democracy looks like!” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” outside the Cardinals’ game against the Atlanta Braves. Protesters were calling attention to racism in the US in the context of Mike Brown’s shooting death by Ferguson, MO police officer and the white nationalist rally.

Stltoday.com reports that baseball fans leaving the game got into several “confrontations” with protesters. In one incident, onlooking police intervened as one man yelled at protesters. Another man argued with protesters and provoked them with a Nazi salute, and when leaving, used an obscene gesture as he told following protesters to leave him alone. Yet another fan shouted “All lives matter!” at demonstrators.

Officials at Busch Stadium stated that there were no injuries in the clashes at Ballpark Village.

This is in stark contrast to the months of protests in Ferguson following Michael Brown, Jr.’s shooting death by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, in which protesters were tear gassed, tased, shot with rubber bullets, and violently arrested by police outfitted with military equipment.

Tensions also ensued at the white nationalist riot in Charlottesville which saw violence as well, in which the gathering of KKK members, Nazis, Confederates and others, exchanged words with protesters. The demonstrations resulted in one fatality, when a car plowed into a group of people protesting against the white nationalists.

St. Louis protesters eventually left Ballpak Village and briefly marched downtown. They dispersed around 10:15pm.

Missouri Bill, Sponsor, Governor Draw Ire From NAACP Travel Warning

images (4)By S. Christopher Emerson

A Missouri bill signed by Gov. Greitens has drawn negative attention after the NAACP issued a travel warning for visitors and residents of the state.

State Sen. Gary Romine’s SB 43 bill, signed into law by the governor on June 30, makes it harder for an employee to sue a business for racial discrimination. Set to take effect on August 28, the “Jim Crow” bill as it’s referred to in an NAACP press release, comes as Romine owns a business that is being sued for racial discrimination.

Missouri NAACP chapter president  and civil rights attorney Rod Chapel wants the law to be repealed, and also criticizes how it could even pass, given the apparent conflict of interest with its sponsor facing a discrimination lawsuit.

“I think there should be a full investigation,” Chapel said Wednesday, according to NBC news. “And if it is an issue where he is helping himself in passing this legislation … I think it’s important for the state senate or the government as a whole to make a determination for whether this type of action is OK.”

Romine explains that he would not benefit from the activation of the bill because “we deliberately did not make the bill retroactive, and the bill didn’t include an emergency clause.”

The senator maintains that workplace discrimination is wrong and should be punished, but that employers are unfairly “punished and held liable even if discrimination didn’t cause the adverse employment action,” according to nbcnews.com.

The NAACP travel advisory warns of the “looming danger” of spending any time in the state, in the wake of the passage of the bill which it suggests “legalizes individual discrimination and harassment in Missouri and would prevent individuals from protecting themselves from discrimination harassment, and retaliation in Missouri.”

Though this advisory is the first of its kind, the June 2017 warning to African Americans in Missouri recalls the “Negro Motorist Green Book,” commonly called “The Green Book,” published by Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966. “The Green Book” was an annual guidebook for Black road trippers in Jim Crow Era America, directing motorists to services and accommodations that were considered friendly. In the midst of legal segregation, the book’s travel advice helped Blacks avoid hostile areas such as “sundown towns” particularly in rural areas and the South.

SB 43 changes current requirements of civil rights prosecutions under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) from “contributing factor” to “because of, but for causation.” Romine’s editorial explains “Because of, but for causation” essentially means that an adverse decision or action would not have been made but for the employee’s status as a protected person. So the bill makes it more difficult to sue in that the plaintiff must prove that their protected status was THE reason they were treated unfairly. Several entities are excluded from workplace prosecution, according to SB 43, including the federal employers, the US government, corporations and associations owned by religious or sectarian organizations, private membership clubs, and other employees. Under the new law, none those entities can be sued for discrimination.

The NAACP advisory lists several cases which have gained national attention for heightening racial and social justice tensions in the state. It warns travelers that “race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri.”

The press release states that the Missouri State Conference NAACP suggests African Americans “warn families, associates and visitors of safety concerns… notify trade union workers, social and civic organizations of the risks of unnecessary (police) searches and seizures (while travelling)… and file and seek help on any discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistle blowing ASAP before your legal rights are lost if Senate Bill 43 is not vetoed by Governor Greitens.”

Greitens Signs New Abortion Bill, Ending Special Session

MO Senate Minority Leader, Gina Walsh, D- Bellefontaine Neighbors

MO Senate Minority Leader, Gina Walsh, D- Bellefontaine Neighbors

By MCNS Staff

Missouri governor Eric Greitens is continuing to drive home the conservative platform he stumped on during his campaign.

Wednesday, July 26, Greitens ended a special session he called by signing anti-abortion legislation into law in a private ceremony in his office. He was surrounded by over a dozen conservative lawmakers and other abortion opposition lobbyists.

According to local reports, the measure exempts agencies that offer alternatives to abortion from a new St. Louis ordinance that bars discrimination against women on the basis of whether they take birth control or have had an abortion.

It also requires doctors to explain the risks of abortion to women 72 hours before an abortion is performed. The new law also calls for annual inspections of clinics, adds new whistleblower protections and increases requirements for pathologists who provide services to abortion facilities.

Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, who sponsored the legislation, framed the bill as a safeguard for women’s health. “The bill is focused on protecting the health and safety of women across Missouri,” he stated.

But pro-choice advocates aren’t convinced. Some believe Greitens, who has never held public office before, is building his reputation as a conservative firebrand.

“Women in Missouri already face some of the nation’s most burdensome restrictions when it comes to accessing reproductive healthcare. Now, Gov. Greitens is trying to make it even more difficult to access basic care. This is a sad day for women and families across Missouri,” Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Missouri said in a statement issued Wednesday, according to stltoday.com.

The new law comes at the end of a special six-week session called by the governor to address abortion related issues. Senate Republicans passed the measure after about four hours of heated debate. Estimated costs of the “abortion session” top $60,000.

According to stltoday.com, Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, said Greitens was using the special session as a way to build up an otherwise empty political résumé.

“You don’t get your way, so you keep calling everybody back (in session) until all of your points are checked off your list. That’s not how this body operates,” Walsh said.

City of Ferguson Settles Michael Brown Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $1.5 Million

By MCNS Staff

UntitledLocal reports state that a federal judge approved the settlement in the suit filed by Brown’s parents against Ferguson and two of its former city employees.

The civil lawsuit levied by Brown’s family states that Wilson “unjustifiably shot and killed (Brown), using an unnecessary and unreasonable amount (of) force in violation of (Brown’s) constitutionally guaranteed right to life.”

The original lawsuit shows the Brown family was seeking punitive and compensatory damages amounting to over $75,000, in addition to attorney’s fees.

The fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown, Jr. by then Ferguson police officer Darren