ferguson

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  Missouri's chief justice says the state needs to make sure its municipal court system is driven by fairness rather than economics.

Chief Justice Mary Russell said in her State of the Judiciary address Thursday that the local municipal courts are often Missourians' first encounter with the justice system.

Legal defense advocates have identified the maze of municipal court fines faced by residents as one cause of anger in the St. Louis area following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The Justice Department is poised to declare that former police officer Darren Wilson should not face civil rights charges over the death of Michael Brown, law enforcement sources tell NPR. Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Brown, who was black, in August. Brown was not armed.

"Two law enforcement sources tell NPR they see no way forward to file criminal civil rights charges" against Wilson, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. She adds, "Those charges would require authorities to prove the officer used excessive force and violated Brown's constitutional rights."

KBIA File Photo

Ferguson's first municipal election since a fatal police shooting sparked months of protests has drawn relatively little interest from prospective candidates as the filing deadline approaches.

Three of the St. Louis suburb's six City Council seats are up for election on April 7 and none of the three incumbents plans to seek re-election.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says two of those council members decided not to run again well before 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in August.

Wellspring United Methodist Church in Ferguson hosted nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Sunday for a service commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The chair of the CBC, G.K. Butterfield, told the congregation that all 46 members of the caucus are committed to comprehensive criminal justice reform.

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Police killings of unarmed residents in Missouri, New York and elsewhere have prompted an array of proposed policy changes as legislatures across the nation began their new sessions. 

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Members of a changed Missouri legislative committee will deal with concerns raised after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

(Updated 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 6 with NAACP's request for an investigation.)

A grand juror is suing St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in an effort to speak out on what happened in the Darren Wilson case. Under typical circumstances, grand jurors are prohibited by law from discussing cases they were involved in.

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From street-artist paintings on boards protecting store windows to signs bearing the now iconic statement, "Hands Up. Don't Shoot," cultural images from the Ferguson protests have become firmly established in recent Missouri history.

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  Police in the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley say their investigation confirms an 18-year-old pointed a gun and tried to fire at the officer who shot him to death in a convenience store parking lot last week. 

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  The Ferguson Police Department has suspended a spokesperson after he referred to the Michael Brown memorial as "a pile of trash."

After a night of protests following the fatal police shooting of Antonio Martin, an 18-year-old African American, in Berkeley, St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar told reporters that things have changed -- at least when it comes how the police respond.

“Tactical operations showed up, but they staged. They never went down to the scene, they were there just in case,” Belmar said.

Just after the sun set on Nov. 24 -- the day that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s fate would be disclosed to the world -- Gov. Jay Nixon faced a throng of reporters at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Appearing before cameras that would simulcast his words across the globe, the Democratic governor talked  at length about how law enforcement officials were ready to respond to the grand jury’s decision. 

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The St. Louis County prosecutor who convened the grand jury that investigated the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown says some witnesses before the panel obviously lied under oath.

St. Louis municipal court judges will now take a defendant’s ability to pay into account when issuing fines for traffic violations or other minor offenses.

A new administrative order went into effect Thursday requiring judges to determine a defendant’s ability to pay when issuing a fine. Judges can then use their discretion to find a fair way for the defendant to meet their obligation.

school buses
KBIA

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — One of the school districts for students from Ferguson is facing a lawsuit alleging school board elections discriminate against black residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP announced the suit Thursday against the Ferguson-Florissant School District. It claims the district's at-large elections make it more difficult for blacks to be elected, even though the district serves more black families than whites.

The suit seeks elections where candidates are selected by ward or sub-district.

Attorney General's Office

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is headed to St. Louis to discuss the region's troubled municipal courts.

The Jefferson City Democrat has scheduled a Thursday morning news conference to announce an unspecified action involving several municipalities in the county. He'll be joined by the Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure, who co-chair the state's Ferguson Commission.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — In the aftermath of Michael Brown's death, legal activists suggested that some of the raw anger that erupted in suburban St. Louis had its roots in an unlikely place — traffic court.

It was there, they said, that low-income drivers sometimes saw their lives upended by minor infractions that led to larger problems. A $75 ticket for driving with expired tags, if left unpaid, could eventually bring an arrest warrant and even jail time.

Protesters upset with police over their handling of demonstrations related to the Michael Brown shooting managed to shut down St. Louis City Hall.

About 75 demonstrators who marched from St. Louis police headquarters on Wednesday were locked out of City Hall. The closing also affected office workers and citizens attempting to do city business.

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  A police interview with a key witness was not provided along with the thousands of documents released after a grand jury decided to not indict a Ferguson police officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

An Associated Press review of the records released by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch confirms a report by KDSK-TV that a transcript of the two-hour interview by the FBI and a county police detective with Brown's friend Dorian Johnson was not included.

Ashley Reese / KBIA

A seven-day march from Ferguson, Missouri, to Jefferson City organized by the NAACP ended Friday with a demonstration at the state Capitol.

Protestors arrived in Jefferson City right on schedule Friday afternoon, marching down Monroe Street to Capitol Avenue, and straight into the State Capitol where they filled up the rotunda. After a peaceful protest with speakers from the NAACP, as well as the family of Michael Brown, a group of protestors left the statehouse and made their way around the capitol city. 

via Flickr user Gordon Correll

Comedian Chris Rock is on a publicity tour, promoting his new film Top Five. In multiple interviews Rock is asked about his reactions to the recent events in Ferguson and his take on racism in America. Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

National Guard instructors
File Photo / KBIA

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The St. Louis police chief says the National Guard will soon be ending its deployment in the city.

The Guard was activated by Gov. Jay Nixon to provide security as a grand jury decision was announced Nov. 24 in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white Ferguson police officer.

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President Barack Obama says he wants to make sure that federal programs that provide Pentagon equipment to police departments "aren't building a militarized culture."

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  The St. Louis Police Officers Association says the five Rams players who stood with their hands raised before Sunday's game should be disciplined and the NFL should publicly apologize.

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  Spurred by the Ferguson shooting, President Barack Obama is calling for $75 million in federal spending to get 50,000 more police to wear body cameras that record their interactions with civilians.

However, Obama is not seeking to pull back federal programs that provide military-style equipment to local law enforcement.

Updated 6:06 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, with a response from Ferguson city officials.

Ferguson city officials confirmed Sunday that Darren Wilson is no longer a member of the Ferguson Police Department.

About 150 people set out from Ferguson Saturday on the first leg of a seven-day, 134 mile march to end racial profiling organized by the NAACP. Some participants, such as NAACP president Cornell William Brooks, plan on walking all the way to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City.

Others, such as Tim and Tia Swain, are walking a day or two. The couple drove out from Indianapolis to be part of the action, but have work commitments later in the week.

Tia Swain said she and her husband are marching for equal access to justice regardless of skin color.

Gov. Jay Nixon plans to call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to pay for the Missouri National Guard and Missouri Highway Patrol’s operations in Ferguson and the St. Louis region. 

It’s a move that comes amid immense disapproval of how the governor handled the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri is extending a program to offer no-interest loans to small businesses in and near Ferguson damaged by recent violent protests.

The office of Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday outlined a $625,000 pool of loan money for businesses damaged by looting in Ferguson, Jennings, Dellwood and other nearby cities hit by vandals after the Monday night announcement that a St. Louis County grand jury decided to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown's shooting death.

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