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

Footage of cell phone video of the August 20 death of Kajieme Powell
Credit Video provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has finished investigating the August death of a man shot by police after allegedly charging them with a knife, and turned the files over to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce for a review.

(courtesy NGA)

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has given a city development agency the power to force home and business owners out of their residences in a swath of land in north St. Louis. The land is being eyed by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency for relocating its headquarters.

Saint Louis University School of Law in downtown St. Louis
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Even as law schools nationally are suffering from waning enrollments, some are seeing a boost in the number of minority students. That’s according to a new study that will be in the spring edition of the Saint Louis University Law Journal.

(Missouri Solar Energy Industry Association)

Missouri's highest court has ruled that lawmakers acted too soon in 2008 when they sought to place limits on a ballot initiative on renewable energy before it had gone to the voters.

Terry Kennedy and John Chasnoff chat after committee approval of a civilian oversight bill on February 9.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Six months to the day after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, a measure that would add an extra layer of public oversight to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department cleared its first legislative hurdle. 

The 8-1 vote by the city Board of Aldermen's public safety committee wrapped up months of negotiations between activists, aldermen and Mayor Francis Slay, as well as three lengthy and often contentious hearings by the public safety committee. Here's how members voted:

Attorney General Chris Koster, center, with Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, right, at area high school during height of unrest in Ferguson.
Missouri Attorney General's Office

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has released six recommendations he says provide the best road map for improving police-community relationships across the state. 

Friday's report compiles ideas Koster heard during two summits in St. Louis and Kansas City in October. The attorney general's office had originally planned to release its recommendations sometime last year.

Protesters outside St. Louis County headquarters on Feb. 2, 2015 call for reforms of the municipal court system.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, personnel from most of the 82 municipal courts in St. Louis County took a first look at voluntary reforms to their courts proposed by the St. Louis County Municipal Court Improvement Committee. 

On Monday, the advocacy group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment unveiled their own reform proposals.  

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Officials from most of St. Louis County's 82 municipal courts got their first look Friday at proposed reforms designed to respond to concerns about the courts raised in the wake of the August shooting death of Michael Brown.  

The St. Louis County Municipal Court Improvement Committee is comprised of court personnel, including judges, prosecutors, administrators and defense attorneys. James Clark of the social service agency Better Family Life is also on the committee.

The draft the voluntary reforms includes:

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Feb. 1 is Super Bowl Sunday. By presidential declaration, it’s also Freedom Day, marking the end of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

As awareness of human trafficking has grown, lawmakers at the state and national levels have been doing what they can to combat it. But most of the heavy lifting falls on the shoulders of non-profits.

Police and protesters scuffle after police union business manager Jeff Roorda allegedly grabbed a protester at a January 28 meeting oh the public safety committee.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:55 a.m. Thursday with comments from the St. Louis police.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has released the following statement:

"A police report with multiple complainants has been filed relative to the incident that occurred during last night's public hearing at City Hall.  There is an ongoing investigation to determine what occurred. " 

Our original story

Chief Sam Dotson addresses officers on JAnuary 26, 2015
Katelyn Petrin/St. Louis Public Radio

Saying it's time to get back police back into the neighborhoods, St. Louis Metropolitan police chief Sam Dotson on Monday launched the first of three so-called "hot spots" -- or additional patrols designed to combat areas experiencing an uptick in crime.   

For the next week or so, officers from city-wide units will help patrol the Carr Square, St. Louis Place and Old North neighborhoods north and west of downtown. Officers have been told by their commanders to be visible and to focus on arresting people, even for minor crimes.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the lawsuit in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Update on March 24, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. with cities dropped from lawsuit:

Attorney General Chris Koster says he has voluntarily dismissed claims against eight municipalities he previously sued for allegedly violating the Mack's Creek law.  The dismissal came after those cities submitted or re-filed annual financial reports to the state auditor that detailed revenue derived from traffic fines and court costs.  The lawsuit against Hillsdale, Moline Acres and Normandy is still pending. 

Updated at 4:00 p.m. with comments from Koster, additional details.

Nixon at a press conference in August
Bill Greenblatt / UPI

This is where you can follow St. Louis Public Radio reporters' tweets, comments and observations of the governor's State of the State speech. Governor Nixon is expected to begin speaking at 7 p.m., which is when we'll start things rolling here, too.

Listen live with us at 90.7 FM or online.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

A Cole County judge is considering whether the state of Missouri needs to make more information public about the way it performs executions.

Mayor Francis Slay announces an initiative to increase the diversity of the public safety department
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 with approval of money.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved $39,000 of the proposed $50,000 for the minority recruitment program. An additional $11,000 may be available next fiscal year. The city and the Ethical Society of Police must still sign a contract outlining the details.

The grant comes as the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department faces a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over its promotion policies. The St. Louis Fire Department has faced several lawsuits over the same issue.

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Four St. Louis area activists who are familiar faces in Ferguson are asking the St. Louis County circuit court to order an investigation into the way prosecutor Bob McCulloch handled the Darren Wilson grand jury.

The case, filed late Thursday, seeks to use section 106 of the Missouri Revised Statutes to force judge Maura McShane to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate McCulloch. McCulloch has been a lightning rod for criticism from the start of the case. 

Mayor Francis Slay and chief Sam Dotson at a press conference on January 15, 2015, discussing six homicides in 13 hours.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 1:35 p.m. Friday with additional information about the crimes.

A spate of violence in St. Louis overnight Wednesday left six people dead in five unrelated incidents.

"This is a big black eye on our city," a somber Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference Thursday evening. "I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the families of these victims. This is something that we're not proud of." 

Marcellus Williams is set to die on January 28.
(Missouri Department of Corrections)

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.

(via Flickr/alancleaver_2000)

Updated with comments from police chief Sam Dotson and circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce.

Even though overall crime continued its downward trend in St. Louis, 2014 was a violent year in the city, with 159 people killed. 

_J_D_R_ / Flickr

Some social service agencies in St. Louis will receive less funding from the United Way of Greater St. Louis this year despite a record annual campaign for the agency.

The United Way raised $73 million to fund programs in 2015, about $500,000 more than its stated goal. But $3.7 million of those dollars were directed to specific agencies or causes - more than 20 times the amount of restricted giving in 2014.

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