St. Louis, Missouri - “What is the delay in closing the Workhouse?” moderator Maquis Govan asks Mayor Tishaura Jones at a virtual town hall on “re-envisioning public safety” February 8. The event was co-organized by Action St. Louis, an affiliate of the Movement for Black Lives. The group’s 501©4 arm, Action St. Louis Power Project, endorsed Jones during her 2021 mayoral run. The Rev. Michelle Higgins opened the event by thanking Jones warmly for “valuing and loving the constituents of this city in this way: taking the time to listen to our questions directly.” Now, activists want clarification on when the mayor will fulfill her campaign promise to close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, more commonly known as the Workhouse, which activists have been trying to shut down for years.
EXPO is an organization of formerly incarcerated individuals and other people involved with the criminal justice system. We are a voice for people adversely affected by this system. We are an offshoot of EXPO Wisconsin, which started in 2014. In just a few years, we have made tremendous strides to address issues that reduce the quality of life for people transitioning after being incarcerated. We are leading a few campaigns now. One is Unlock the Vote, which is a fight to restore voting rights for individuals convicted of a felony and who are now on probation or parole. We hope to restore these rights because people who have had a brush with law need to be able to return to society as assets, to be able to contribute in a positive way.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple that drew national attention last month after footage of them pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home went viral, have been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon, The Associated Press reported. The charges come after investigation circuit attorney Kim Gardner launched a probe into the couple late last month over the June 28 incident. At the time, the couple, who are white, were seen pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters that had been passing their home in a gated community while en route to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson (D). The protesters had been demonstrating to call for Krewson’s resignation after she read aloud activists' personal information on a livestream.
St. Louis, MO - The first black woman elected as circuit attorney in the city of St. Louis is taking long-standing racial tensions, specifically between her office and the police department, to federal court. On Monday, Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging a racist conspiracy to stop her from doing her job. Gardner is suing the city of St. Louis; the St. Louis Police Officers Association and its longtime business manager Jeff Roorda; a former police officer named Charles Lane who sued Gardner’s office; and Gerard Carmody and his children, who are the private attorneys appointed as special prosecutors to investigate her office’s handling of the investigation of former Gov. Eric Greitens. “Gardner was elected in 2016 on a promise to redress the scourge of historical inequality and rebuild trust in the criminal justice system among communities of color,” says the lawsuit, filed on Gardner’s behalf by three outside law firms from St. Louis, Washington and New York.
ST. LOUIS: In response to a call from a camp in Louisiana resisting the #BayouBridgePipeline, L’eau Est La Vie Camp, for a day of global solidarity, St. Louis residents who have been to the resistance encampment organized a local action to bring attention to the struggle and put pressure on local targets in St. Louis. The action started at the Bank of America Plaza Downton with a rally that hosted a variety of speakers, after that a march proceeded which ended at a U.S. Bank branch, where 10 activists took over the lobby and shut it down, while the rest of the march remained outside as auxiliary support. The activists inside shutdown the branch for the last hour it was open and left the space without arrest at the end of the day.
By Rashmee Kumar for the Intercept. Starting with the “original police force,” the London Metropolitan Police, Vitale provides a succinct historical framework to understand how police in the U.S. were created to control poor and nonwhite people and communities. The modern war on drugs can be traced back to “political opportunism and managing ‘suspect populations’” in the 20th century. The increasingly intensified policing of the U.S.-Mexico border today stems from nativist sentiment and economic exploitation of migrant workers starting in the 1800s. Surveillance and suppression of political movements takes root in imperialist Europe, when ruling powers used secret police to infiltrate and eliminate the opposition. “The End of Policing” maps how law enforcement has become an omnipresent specter in American society over the last four decades. Police are deployed to monitor and manage a sprawling range of issues: drugs, homelessness, mental health, immigration, school safety, sex work, youth violence, and political resistance. Across this spectrum, current liberal reforms are intertwined with upholding the legitimacy of police, courts, and incarceration as conduits to receive access to resources and care. Vitale’s approach goes beyond working within the carceral system to propose non-punitive alternatives that would eventually render policing obsolete.
By Panda Monium for Rebz.Tv - It has finally come to the attention to the majority of St. Louis residents that Sgt. Brian Rossomanno’s national security contracting business, 0311 Tactical Solutions, LLC, is contracted to train the police department. Beyond this being a glaring conflict of interest, it is very telling of the type of training that St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department receives to be used against citizens. We have seen, day after day, heavily armored police attacking peaceful protesters, nearly always without provocation. And of course, leading his army of military-style tactically trained police, is the self-proclaimed #RiotKing Sgt. Rossomanno himself. Rossamanno is the head of SLMPD’s civil disobedience team, and is the one that makes the decisions to brutally attack peaceful protesters with chemical munitions, using illegal maneuvers such as kettling. In STLToday’s article that brought this subject to light, they stated: Rossomanno declined to be interviewed for this story. In an email on Friday, he said that 0311 Tactical did not bid on contracts from the St. Louis police because it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Later that day, his company’s website was edited to delete the St. Louis police department and its SWAT team as clients.
By Jaisal Noor for the Real News. Jason Stockley for killing 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. 143 people were arrested on a highway protest on Tuesday alone, including two journalists with The Young Turks. In a police recording of the incident, Stockley can be heard saying he was going to kill the suspect. Smith was shot five times and pronounced dead on the scene. Now joining us to discuss this and the ongoing protests is Mustafa Abdullah. He's an organizer with the ACLU of Missouri. Thank you so much for joining us. M. ABDULLAH: I'm happy to be here. JAISAL NOOR: So, talk about what you've seen in the streets over the past two weeks plus. The police have said there have been criminal elements in the protests who have engaged in vandalism and rioting. M. ABDULLAH: So, I think that the organized protests are really a beautiful sort of demonstration of a community's response to what they see as systemic oppression and a lack of accountability and transparency when it comes to interactions with law enforcement and the investigations into police brutality and police killings. What I've seen is, I've seen protestors lead chants of, "Take one, take all." I've seen protestors who are referring to themselves as family and I think that these issues are particularly very personal to them. I think that the fact that there has been a few instances of windows being broken at businesses is more of a demonstration of people's anger and frustration and I think that I'm not, I think that those acts should be interpreted within that lens. And so when we're seeing things at protests that we may find disagreeable or that we don't understand, I think it's important for folks to remind themselves to take a step back and to really try to have empathy for why people are frustrated and why they're angry.
By Staff for Reporters WIthout Borders. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed to learn that at least six journalists have been arrested this week while covering protests in St. Louis, Missouri. RSF views the detention of reporters who are simply doing their job as a threat to press freedom and calls for all charges against them to be dropped. On the evening of October 3, 2017, while covering protests in St. Louis, Missouri, following the acquittal of a white former police officer who fatally shot a black man, at least six journalists were arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing. These detentions come just over two weeks after three journalists were arrested in St. Louis while covering similar demonstrations. One of them was citizen journalist and livestreamer Jon Ziegler, also known as “Rebelutionary Z”, who now faces two sets of charges from both this week’s and last month’s arrests.
By Panda Monium for Rebz.TV - After 19 days of protesting, it seems that finally the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is starting to see the light. It’s really expensive to pay these geared up cops… to the tune of 2.9 million dollars in overtime so far. Officers are beginning to reconsider their career choice. They are tired and frustrated, and the angry protesters insulting them is indeed making some of the cops feel bad about themselves, by being frankly told exactly what people think of their profession. There are a few cops that have a shred of humanity left, and are ashamed of how peaceful protesters are being treated. And I know for certain that there are officers who continue to retain their professionalism, and are appalled at the embarrassment their coworkers are creating for the police department as a whole. Of course, we’ll never see those kinds of admissions publicly, because that would be a sign of weakness and division, and these could be taken advantage of! But we see them.
By Rafi Schwartz for Splinter - Police in St. Louis conducted mass arrests on Tuesday night after a group of activists blocked traffic on a city highway in the latest protest against former police officer Jason Stockley’s acquittal for the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, an unarmed black man. Faced with a heavily armored police line as they marched up the Interstate, the protesters reportedly chanted, “We don’t see a riot here. Why are you in riot gear?” They were then maneuvered off the road by law enforcement officers, who proceeded to arrest them one by one. While police did not immediately release a full count of those arrested, local alderman John Collins-Muhammad told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 126 people were detained—among them State Representative Bruce Franks (D–St. Louis) and civil rights activist Rev. Starsky Wilson. Alarmingly, police also arrested journalist Jordan Chariton and his cameraman Ty Bayliss, both of The Young Turks, during the protests. According to at least one observer, law enforcement officers targeted members of the press during the opening minutes of their arrests.
By Don Fitz for Green Social Thought. Missouri - This is what has sparked protests by thousands in St. Louis from September 15 through today. In 2011, St. Louis cop Jason Stockley fired 5-7 shots at Anthony Lamar Smith, killing him. Stockley claimed that Smith was selling drugs and chased him at high speed and shot him to defend himself. The story was briefly reported as another drug deal gone bad, and it was just incidental that the cop was white and the victim was black. [See 2011 story HERE]. But the case turned out to be a lot more than that. His mother, Annie Smith, said that "They wouldn't let me kiss him or hug him goodbye."
By Staff of St. Louis Post-Dispatch - The concert got underway as scheduled and once the first song, "My Life," drowned out the protesters' chants, many of them headed back toward Kiener Plaza. Several again blocked Broadway and Market. The chants also included "Out of the county and into the streets." Alexandria Lane-Detwiler of Chesterfield was among the protesters. "I can't sit at home in my privilege and not come out," she said. Onstage, Joel made reference to the unrest. "Good evening, St Louie," he said early on. "Glad you made it. I know things have been a little tense around here." At one point, a couple of protesters appeared to be attempting to block a police SUV in the street, but they were pulled away by organizers of the protest. Danielle Williams, 19, joined the protest along with a friend. The St. Louis resident said she was happy to see that it had drawn a largely white crowd. She said she has felt a lack of empathy for the concerns of black urban residents like herself from others who don't share her skin color and don't live in the city. "They're not trying to understand," she said. "They don't get it because they don't live where we live." Candy Voyd, 64, says she lives in The Ville, a historically African-American neighborhood in north St. Louis. As the protest wound down, she noted that police had kept their distance from the marchers. She said she believed it was because most of them, like her, were white.
By Dave Urbanski for The Blaze - Surveillance video shows a group walking by a restaurant with one of them placing a sticker on the front door and then the group continuing down the sidewalk, KMOV-TV reported. 'Whites Only' stickers found on the doors of restaurants in The Grove. Even more curious is the #BLM hashtag — presumably standing for Black Lives Matter — found in the lower right-hand corner of the stickers. While the culprits’ motives are unclear, the vandalism comes on the heels of violent protests in St. Louis over the murder acquittal last week of a white former police officer who fatally shot a black motorist in 2011. KMOV noted similar signs have been used in the past as a shock tactic to generate discussion and dialogue. In addition, numerous racist messages found in public places nationwide in recent years have turned out to be hoaxes. The owners of Layla, another restaurant, called their discovery of a “Whites Only” sticker “heartbreaking.” “We pride ourselves on being open, accepting and inviting of all types of people,” the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page, KMOV reported. “I’m proud to say I employ African-American, Caucasian American, Malaysian,” Mohammed told the station.
By Genevieve Leigh for WSWS - “We’re in control,” announced the head of the St. Louis, Missouri Police Department, Lawrence O’Toole, at a press conference Monday after a weekend of unrest in the city over the acquittal of a white cop who shot a black man to death in 2011. “This is our city and we’re going to protect it,” O’Toole declared. The escalation of the brutal police crackdown in St. Louis came as the demonstrations entered their fifth day Tuesday. In sharp contrast to the largely peaceful character of the protests, police have displayed alarming levels of belligerence and arrogance in their repression of protesters. Groups of police officers in riot gear were heard early Monday morning marching through areas forcibly cleared of demonstrators chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” mocking protesters with a slogan commonly used at rallies. The authoritarian declarations of the police chief and his officers came on the heels of the arrest of 123 protesters in a massive roundup on Sunday night. The arrests were carried out using a highly criticized police technique called “kettling,” in which police surround and trap protesters so they cannot escape. They are then arrested en masse for alleged refusal to disperse. Nearly a day after the mass roundup, police were refusing to release information on how many of the arrested remained in custody.