Category Archives: Local

STL Bills Seek Stronger Police Controls

572ce1ff86960.imageBy Steppin’ Razor

St. Louis city lawmakers may achieve more powers for the Civilian Oversight Board and the Circuit Attorney’s Office to investigate grievances against police.

One proposed board bill is a long-sought measure that would give the Civilian Oversight Board (COB), which was created in 2015, subpoena power. Another bill would create an independent unit in Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office to investigate incidents involving police use of force. Both were introduced last Friday in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

BB233, introduced by Alderwoman Pam Boyd (D-27th), has 14 co-sponsors including President Lewis Reed, and the support of Mayor Lyda Krewson, who has said that she would support stronger police oversight. BB234, introduced by Brandon Bosley (D-3rd) , has 11 co-sponsors, which includes the president.

Adding subpoena power to the COB would allow the board to order witnesses to appear in front of them, and demand documents and other materials like videos that would help their review of cases. Activists have argued that without the power to subpoena, the COB is restricted from conducting thorough investigations.

BB234 comes after an October 2017 statement by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announcing the launch of a unit to investigate police shootings. Many activists feel that police investigating use of force incidents themselves makes for biased findings and determinations.

Both bills follow recommendations from the 2015 Ferguson Commission Report, which was released after an investigation into the causes of the Ferguson uprising following the police killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, Jr. The report specifically calls for independent investigations of police shootings and a stronger civilian oversight body.

The bills are already experiencing some resistance from the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, which represents mostly White rank-and-file officers, that feels BB233 is illegal and a waste of money. Alderman Terry Kennedy (D-18th), who introduced the first civilian oversight bill in 2006 that was vetoed by then-mayor Francis Slay, says that the attorney for the aldermen disagrees with the STLPOA claim.

BB233 is getting high level support. Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards has voiced support for the bill and it is expected to pass in a full board vote. Sgt. Heather Taylor of the Ethical Society of Police, the Black police union, says that her organization supports both bills, saying that police have proven that they can’t investigate cases of their own misconduct with fairness.

Greitens Admits Extramarital Affair, Denies Threats

By MCNS Staff

Missouri governor Eric Greitens who ran his recent campaign on family values was caught engaged in an extramarital affair.

Missouri governor Eric Greitens who ran his recent campaign on family values was caught engaged in an extramarital affair.

The conservative “family values” Missouri governor is embroiled in a fresh scandal.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens confirmed Wednesday with KMOV News 4 that he had an extramarital affair. This admission comes as the result of an investigation by the news outlet.

According to kmov.com, in a recording obtained by the news source, a woman says she had a sexual encounter with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and that he threatened her to keep the encounter from becoming public. The recording, which features the woman giving intimate details of the incident, was made by the woman’s ex-husband without her knowledge.

Details from the woman’s ex-husband laid claims that his now ex-wife engaged in a sexual relationship with Greitens in March 2015 which eventually destroyed their marriage. Local sources have not named the woman, who has not made any on-the-record statements.

Local sources indicate that according to the ex-husband, the recording was made just days after Greitens’ and the woman’s first sexual episode. The ex-husband also stated that Greitens took a photograph of the woman during the incident to threaten her to silence.

Greitens won his gubernatorial election in August 2016, running as an unsullied maverick with no prior political experience and a family man. In his campaign announcement, he stated: “I’m Eric Greitens, I’m a Navy SEAL, native Missourian and most importantly, a proud husband and father.”

In a joint statement with his wife, Sheena, Greitens admitted to the affair, “A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage.”

This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately,” the statement continues.

Late Wednesday, James Bennett, attorney for the governor, characterized some of the allegations in the accusation were false, including the “blackmail.”

“The governor has now seen the TV report that ran tonight.  The station declined to provide the tape or transcript in advance of running their story, which contained multiple false allegations.  The claim that this nearly three-year old story has generated or should generate law enforcement interest is completely false.  There was no blackmail and that claim is false.  This personal matter has been addressed by the Governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened.  The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost three-year-ago events are false.”

For recording transcripts, and details in this extramarital affair scandal rocking the Governor’s Mansion, click here.

Franks Raises Black Power Fist During Pledge of Allegiance

By MCNS Staff

A Black Missouri House member from St. Louis made a symbolic gesture during the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to local reports, on Wednesday, Bruce Franks Jr. (D-with) stood with his right fist raised during the recitation on the opening day of the legislative session. Most of his colleagues and others in attendance held their hands over their hearts.

Franks told The Associated Press that he prefers “to pledge allegiance to the people.”

The lawmaker won his election in 2016 after gaining notoriety as a social justice demonstrator following the police killing of Black teenager Michael Brown.

Franks says he often leaves during the pledge to avoid controversy but stayed Wednesday because he had guests to introduce afterward.

Protesters Lose Appeal Against Police Ordinance

525234871so00058-grand-juryBy MCNS Staff

Local reports indicate that a state appellate court has ruled against two protesters who challenged an ordinance in St. Louis County that allows police to arrest anyone who interferes with police work “in any manner whatsoever.”

The ordinance has been used to arrest hundreds of protesters since demonstrations against police brutality and unjust court systems began after the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in 2014 by White former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The subsequent grand jury hearing resulted in a non-indictment of Wilson and ramped up protests.

Rev. Melissa Bennett and audiologist Koach Baruch Frazier, both from University City, were arrested in 2014 during a demonstration outside the Ferguson police station. They later sued the county, county Counselor Peter Krane and then-Attorney General Chris Koster, arguing the ordinance was unconstitutional.

Part of their argument to the court was that the language was too vague, and that it leaves too much of the determination of whether a person has obstructed or interfered with police work to cops’ discretion. The openness of the ordinance mirrors a controversial police policy that leaves use of deadly force also up to “police discretion.”