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

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

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.

Supporters of legislation that would force a public vote on funding for the new football stadium show the results of a city-wide poll on the use of public dollars.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to force a citywide vote on public funding for a proposed new football stadium north of Laclede's Landing remain alive at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, but future forward progress will be difficult.

Members of the city's Convention and Tourism Committee heard two hours of testimony on 15th Ward Democrat Megan-Elliya Green's bill Monday without taking a vote.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Applicants should have their resumes in to be considered to head the newly formed Civilian Oversight Board.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed legislation creating the board back in May. Its seven civilian members will oversee the internal affairs investigations of complaints made about the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and can in certain circumstances launch its own investigation.

Officer Phil Green, an instructor in the St. Louis Police Academy and chief Sam Dotson present to the subcommittee on police use of force on Nov. 19, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly six months after he first asked for the authority to do so, Alderman Antonio French has started his review of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s use-of-force policies.

French's subcommittee on police use of force held its first meeting Thursday. He had originally hoped for a special committee that would study officer-involved shootings, but the legislation authorizing that committee never passed. A subcommittee can be created without a vote of the Board of Aldermen.

(all photos via Missouri Department of Conservation)

Though it's generally well run, the Missouri Department of Conservation has had trouble following directions.

That is the conclusion of a report released Friday by auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat.

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the working group created to study and propose reforms to municipal courts in Missouri heard from three main camps at a public hearing on Thursday, which stretched for nearly three hours.

One believes the system is fine, and many of the problems identified are being addressed. Another acknowledges there are problems, but wants to keep reforms local. The third, and largest by far, wants the Supreme Court to force the consolidation of municipal courts.

Jeffry Smith drinks a bottle of water inside the Saint Louis Zoo while wearing an empty gun holster on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the next few days, gun-rights activists will challenge the limits of the Missouri’s gun laws in different ways.

On Friday, an attorney for Ohio activist Jeffry Smith will ask St. Louis circuit judge Joan Moriarty to allow Smith to bring a handgun into the St. Louis Zoo, despite signs declaring it a gun-free zone.

Clockwise from top left - FF. Jeff Weffelmeyer, FF. Jessica Jackson, Capt. Garon Mosby, FF. Chris Tobin and Capt. Larry Conley.
UPI | Bill Greenblatt

Five members of the St. Louis Fire Department are on their way to Kenya.

Captains Larry Conley and Garon Mosby, and fire privates Chris Tobin, Jeff Weffelmeyer and Jessica Jackson will join 20 other firefighters from across the U.S. and Canada for the first-ever All-Kenya Fire Academy. The academy, a project of Africa Fire Mission, will bring together firefighters from across that country to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, for 10 days of classes.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

On Nov. 6, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen officially accepted federal funding to help the circuit attorney's office develop a program to help certain individuals avoid a felony gun conviction.

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival that relate to prominent issues facing our city.

In this installment, St. Louis Public Radio looks at films that offer a multitude of perspectives on race as it affects culture on a local, national and international scale: "Four Way Stop," "Goodbye Theresienstadt," "Finding Bosnia," "My Friend Victoria," "Korla!" and "Aram, Aram."

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, is also on board with the business licensing streamline effort.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Small business owners in St. Louis who work exclusively out of their homes will get some relief from regulations under a measure expected to pass the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival related to prominent issues facing our city.

Yesterday we reviewed films that dealt with crime and crime prevention. Today we’ll provide reviews of select movies that tackle different perspectives on quality of life issues.

It's a broad topic, so it's a big list: "T-Rex," "The Invitation," Good Ol' Boy," "Keeping Rosy," "Unlikely Heroes," "Frame by Frame," "Radical Grace," "Echo Lake," "24/7/365," "Bounce" and "I Can Quit Whenever I Want."

Footage of cell phone video of the Aug. 20, 2014, death of Kajieme Powell
Video provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police

Updated at 5 p.m. Tuesday with comments from prosecutors. Two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers will not face criminal charges in the death of a 25-year-old man who was killed less than two weeks after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Kajieme Powell was shot and killed outside a convenience store in the city’s North Point neighborhood on Aug. 19, 2014, after he advanced with a knife on officers who had responded to a disturbance call. 

Here at St. Louis Public Radio we know our listeners rely on us for to provide context, quality storytelling, and deep dives into the characters behind today’s news. We’re applying this approach to bring you reviews from this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival organized by the issues facing St. Louis and the surrounding area.

Each day reviews will be organized by issue as explored in select films from the festival. These categories are not literal representations of how these topics manifest in St. Louis but maintain a broader look into the various perspectives we use to address these concerns.

(Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio)

A statewide group that advises the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says the federal government needs to be gathering a lot more information about police tactics in Missouri and across the country.

The brief report summarizes two days of public hearings the Missouri Advisory Committee held last year in Kansas City and St. Louis. Members will have until Jan. 11 to comment on the summary. A full report is due in April.  

Maya Angelou's birthplace, at 3130 Hickory St. in the Gate District.
| City of St. Louis

A 127-year-old brick two-story in the Gate District is the city’s latest landmark.

The house at 3130 Hickory St. was the birthplace of author and activist Maya Angelou, who was born Marguerite Johnson in April 1928. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the designation as a city landmark on Friday, limiting the alterations the owners can make to the property.

David Lopez Jackson has been charged with two of the seven October church arsons
Provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

A 35-year-old St. Louis man has been arrested in connection with two church arsons that put St. Louis and parts of north St. Louis County on high alert in October.

David Lopez Jackson is being held on a $75,000 cash-only bond. He was arrested on Thursday and officially charged on Friday with two counts of second-degree arson for the fires that damaged the New Life Missionary Baptist and Ebenezer Lutheran churches. He is considered a suspect in the other five. 

Four hand guns on a red cloth.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Facebook

St. Louis is a step closer to accepting a grant from the federal government to help battle gun violence in the city.

The Board of Aldermen's public employees committee on Thursday authorized the city to accept a $417,512 SMART Prosecution grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the Justice Department. The full Board of Aldermen must also approve the grant.

Former St. Louis corrections commissioner Gene Stubblefield and his attorney at a 2011 hearing of the city's public safety committee
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A former corrections commissioner for St. Louis has dismissed a federal employment discrimination case against the city.

Court documents do not explain the reason Eugene Stubblefield ended the legal over his December 2011 firing. In September, the magistrate judge overseeing his federal case ordered the two sides to reach a consent decree or dismiss the suit.

Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Go to any law enforcement event in the St. Louis area and you’re likely to see them there -- men and women in kilts, duty pistols at their sides, bagpipes and drums in hand.

The St. Louis County Police Pipes and Drums began a dozen years ago as the side project of three St. Louis County officers who are also life-long musicians. As members of the only law enforcement pipe band in the state, they use their musical talents to honor the work of law enforcement around the state and the country.

How did the band get going?

Mayor Francis Slay, at podium, introduces his nominees for the cvilian oversight board. They are, from left, DeBorah Ahmed, Ciera Simril, Heather Highland, Jane Abbott-Morris, Bradley Arteaga, Steve Rovak and Lawrence Johnson.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with confirmation - Six of the nominees to the Civilian Oversight Board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, sailed through Board of Aldermen confirmation Friday. The seventh, DeBorah Ahmed, withdrew her name from consideration.

Ahmed is an executive director at Better Family Life, which has received thousands in city money over the last decade. Her nomination had been criticized for possible conflicts of interest. This means that the mayor will have to find a new nominee for the third district, in north-central and northwest St. Louis.

Updated 9 a.m., Oct. 22 -  Overnight, officials confirmed a seventh church fire at the rectory for the Shrine of St. Joseph in the Columbus Square neighborhood, just west of downtown. The St. Louis Fire Department was able to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. The double wooden doors to the rectory suffered some damage. No one was injured.

The fire at New Life Missionary Baptist also damaged the siding.
Peter Armstrong | Christ Church Cathedral

The St. Louis Regional Bomb Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating what they describe as a series of six arsons at predominately black churches in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

The latest, Ebenezer Lutheran Church at 1011 Theobald St., in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis, was damaged sometime between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m Sunday. The buildings have all been empty at the times of the fires, which began when the arsonist lit exterior doors on fire.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Low-wage workers in St. Louis will not be getting the raise they expected on Thursday.

Judge Steven Ohmer ruled Wednesday afternoon that a law boosting the city's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018 violated Missouri's Constitution because it conflicted directly with state law. The first increase, to $8.25 an hour, was to take effect at midnight Wednesday.

District Three nominee DeBorah Ahmed talks with District Seven nominee Steve Rovak after Mayor Francis Slay announced their nominations in August.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the public get a chance Tuesday night to express their opinions about the nominees for St. Louis’ new police civilian oversight board.

The audience will not get to question the potential board members directly.

Relations between St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Reed have improved a bit since they ran against each other in 2013.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has announced a new commission to help him implement his anti-crime strategy.

The mayor wants the Commission on Violent Crime to be operational by the end of the year, though many of the details, including who the members of the commission will be, are unclear. He unveiled the plans to revive the commission on his website on Thursday:

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson briefs reporters on his department's plans for the 2015 Major League Baseball playoffs on October 8, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police will have extra personnel in downtown this weekend as the St. Louis Cardinals begin postseason play — a little earlier than usual.

(courtesy of Uber)

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission has asked a St. Louis County judge to force Uber to stop operating in St. Louis.

The regulatory body on Monday filed suit against the company, 19 alleged UberX drivers, and anyone else who may have driven a vehicle for UberX, saying the parties are operating in direct violation of the Commission's vehicle-for-hire code. 

Mayor Francis Slay, left, and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson unveil the new Real Time Crime Center at police headquarters.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Francis Slay will join his counterparts from dozens of American cities in Washington, D.C. this week for the attorney general's summit on violent crime.

His trip comes as the city continues to battle an increase in crime. The latest numbers show crime is 10 percent higher in 2015 compared to the same time last year, though the increase has slowed down each month this year. St. Louis is on pace for about 200 homicides, a barrier it hasn't broken in nearly 20 years.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

This July 31, the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of a 20-month investigation into the St. Louis County Family Court that sent a jolt through the system.

"The investigation found that the court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and that the court’s administration of juvenile justice discriminates against black children, all in violation of the 14th Amendment," assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a conference call.

Pages