Rachel Lippmann

Reporter

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

Ways to Connect

Updated 12:27 p.m. May 5 with House veto override - The same day that Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo. vetoed a measure that would have changed the way school funding is calculated, the Missouri Senate voted to override that move. One day later, the House overrode the veto as well. The measure now becomes law.

According to the governor, "The cheapening of the foundation formula would break a promise that we have made to our local schools and students that they educate. This is a cynical policy that I cannot and will not support." He made his comments Wednesday at an appearance at Ferguson Middle School, in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

Federal, state and local officials are celebrating the news that the federal government has picked a site in north St. Louis for an expansion of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

The prosecutors in Missouri's two largest cities are joining with pediatricians to support legislation that would make it a crime to leave a loaded weapon accessible to children.

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, is the sponsor of the bill, which makes it a felony if a gun owner "knowingly fails to secure a readily available, loaded deadly weapon in the presence of a child less than 17 years of age." A weapon would be considered secure if it had a functioning trigger lock, was kept in a safe, or was unloaded.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, alleging widespread constitutional violations in how it polices its residents. 

"The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday at a news conference. "We intend to aggressively prosecute this case, and we intend to win."

Updated with details and comments from Rep. William Lacy Clay. — The city of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice are approaching agreement on how to deal with the civil rights violations of the city's police departments and municipal courts.

Ferguson officials on Wednesday released a draft version of a consent decree. The city will accept written comments through Feb. 9, and at three City Council meetings. It must still be approved by the City Council and a federal judge — the agreement would end after the city completely complies with all agreement requirements for two full years.

Updated at 3 p.m. with comments from Nasheed, Dogan and others - Police departments in Missouri that continually engage in racial profiling could be stripped of their certification under legislation introduced in Jefferson City on Tuesday.

The “Fair and Impartial Policing Act,” sponsored by state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, and state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, would be the first significant update to the state’s anti-racial profiling law, which originally passed in 2000. In addition to tightening enforcement for failure to collect data, the new law also requires departments to document pedestrian as well as traffic stops and expands the information collected during the stops.

Updated on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. with information on more evacuations and road closures.

Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard on Tuesday to help rain-weary communities deal with near-record flooding.

Nixon said in a statement that the guard would provide security in evacuated areas and direct traffic around closed roads. Forty roads remain closed due to flooding in the Missouri part of the St. Louis region, out of 225 statewide.

About a year ago, Missouri attorney General Chris Koster sued 13 municipalities in St. Louis County who weren’t complying with the state’s law on traffic revenue.

It was one of a series of cases at the state and local level filed against cities for the way they operate their municipal courts. And the architects of the strategy say it's working.

Starting Thursday, more than 150 people from all parts of the criminal justice system with gather at Washington University to ponder a radical remake of the way this country uses incarceration.

The conference is the first major undertaking for the Smart Decarceration Initiative. Carrie Pettus-Davis, an assistant professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, is one of the organizers.

A report by the U.S. Department of Justice examines a chaotic and often uncoordinated response to the protests that erupted after the shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014.

The Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services on Wednesday released its after-action report on the police response to the 17 days between when Brown was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and his funeral.

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Updated with comments from Dave Peacock, John Ammann, and Mayor Slay - A St. Louis judge has ruled that city voters do not have a right to weigh in on public spending for a proposed new football stadium north of Laclede's Landing.

"Judgment shall be, and hereby is, entered in favor of Plaintiff Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority and against Defendant City of St. Louis on Plaintiff’s Petition for Declaratory Judgment. City Ordinance 66509, Chapter 3.91 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, is hereby declared INVALID."

A 24-year veteran of the Glendale, Ariz., police department will take the reins in Ferguson for the next six months.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced Wednesday that Andre Anderson, who has led Glendale's Criminal Investigations Division, will take over the 50-officer Ferguson department on July 23. He'll have the job for six months, replacing Al Eickhoff, who took over after former chief Thomas Jackson resigned in March.

Updated 9 a.m. Tuesday with news of Supreme Court's action - The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge by Missouri death row inmates to the state’s execution protocol.

The high court on Monday denied a request from the inmate's attorneys to consider the case. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that in order to win their claims that Missouri's lethal injection cocktail amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, inmates had to show that a viable alternative was available.

Eighty municipal courts in St. Louis County have agreed to levy identical fines and court fees for charges like speeding or driving without insurance.

(Updated 4:12 p.m. with comments from attorneys.)

The three agencies that made up the "unified command" during protests in Ferguson over the summer will have to provide warning before using tear gas or other chemical agents to disperse peaceful crowds.

The appeals court judge now hearing municipal cases in Ferguson has limited the amount of fines and fees the city can collect from defendants facing traffic, animal control or housing ordinance violations.

For the latest updates on this developing story, see our live blog.

Two St. Louis-area police officers monitoring protesters at the Ferguson police department were shot shortly after midnight. While the injuries were termed serious, both officers were released from the hospital later in the morning.

Looking toward Thursday night, when at least one group has called for a candlelight vigil at the department, law enforcement officials announced that the County Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol would take over security around the headquarters on South Florissant Road.

Updated as of 10:30 pm., April 22, 2015:

The family of Michael Brown will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ferguson on Thursday, according to a news  release sent Wednesday night.

The Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments next week on whether voters knew enough about a constitutional amendment expanding gun rights before it was approved in 2014. 

(Updated 3:50 p.m., June 16, 2015 with ruling from the Supreme Court.)

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that Ameren Missouri is not responsible for the deaths of two young children who drowned after being electrocuted on the Lake of the Ozarks.

Ameren owns the lake, which is part of its Osage power plant. Alexandra and Brayden Anderson were swimming in the lake on July 4, 2012, when they were shocked by a stray current from the family's dock and drowned. Their mother sued Ameren, saying the company regulated the installation of docks on the lake and was therefore liable for the deaths.

Updated 5:00 pm Wednesday, January 14

In a six-page opinion issued on Wednesday, judge Rodney Sippel dismissed Williams' petition, calling the complaint "frivolous."

Williams, Sippel wrote, had plenty of opportunity at both the state and federal levels to challenge the absence of DNA testing. His failure to do so is the reason that he can't ask for the DNA to be tested now.

Read Sippel's order here.

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch and two of his assistants are facing a misconduct complaint for the way they handled the grand jury that investigated former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.  

After St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday that a grand jury had decided not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with a crime in the August death of Michael Brown, he carried out his promise to release thousands of pages of grand jury testimony and evidence.  

A grand jury in St. Louis County has decided not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with a crime for the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old black man.

(Updated at 9 p.m., Mon., Nov. 17)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard to protect “the two pillars: safety and speech’’ that he says could be tested in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision regarding the August police shooting that killed teenager Michael Brown. 

"Our goal is to keep the peace and allow folks' voices to be heard,'' Nixon said Monday night in a conference call with reporters.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. with comments from plaintiff Kyle Lawson.

Two days after a state judge in St. Louis came to the same conclusion, a federal judge in Kansas City has struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage.  

When the St. Louis County grand jury completes its investigation into the death of Michael Brown, protests are expected to erupt. And now, the people who participate have a new tool to monitor police.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri unveiled a tool Thursday that allows people to monitor the interactions between police and citizens with their smart phones.

The St. Louis circuit attorney is pledging a thorough and transparent investigation into the shooting death of 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers. Myers was shot and killed Wednesday night in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis by an off-duty police officer.

(Updated at 5:45 p.m. with quotes from the ACLU and additional information.)

Attorney General Chris Koster will not appeal a Kansas City judge's ruling that ordered the state of Missouri to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples who wed outside of the state. 

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