Several dozen people showed their support for police Saturday afternoon in Clayton with a rally in front of St. Louis County Police headquarters. Many dressed in blue and white. Some carried signs that read “We support our LEOs” and “Police Lives Matter.” Others waved American flags.
At a table in front of the memorial for slain officers, Bill Peiper and Teresa Tate sold t-shirts with their six-year-old son Colton Tate.
In the parking lot of a small strip mall across the street from the Mobil station in Berkeley where the police shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin took place this morning, television crews from national networks were setting up and a few protesters milled around this morning.
“It’s Christmas, we’ll pray for peace,” said Tom Kiely, who owns the strip mall.
For now, Kiely said he doesn’t plan on boarding up storefronts -- like many of the businesses in nearby Ferguson have done. But that could change.
Brittany Packnett says she’s made a career of “listening intently and intensively” to the needs of young people. The former third-grade teacher, current Ferguson activist and executive director of Teach for America in St. Louis will now put her listening and leadership skills to use as a member of President Barack Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing.
This week, the Senate gave final approval to legislation that requires police departments to report the deaths of individuals in police custody. The bill’s passage on Wednesday came one day after witnesses before a subcommittee on human rights also expressed their support for the measure; their testimony illustrated why the legislation is needed. The bill, which passed the House last year at this time, now goes to the president for his signature.
One of the most important reforms that could grow out of the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, experts say, would be the creation of a national database containing detailed information about all police shootings, whether or not suspects are wounded or killed.
On this much experts agree. But beneath that agreement, the debate about police use of force is fraught with sharp disagreements about how important a factor race plays.
The grand jury decisions not to indict police involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York sparked nights of protests. Here, protesters gathered on the steps of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Two grand juries in two very different cases have refused to indict white police officers for the deaths of two black men. As a result, many people are wondering if it's possible to hold police officers accountable for use of deadly force.
State and federal laws could be reformed to make it easier to punish police officers who misuse deadly force, but legal experts say those changes would face political hurdles and an unfriendly U.S. Supreme Court.
President Barack Obama says he has asked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to create a plan for a “careful and appropriate response to any potential violence” that may occur after the grand jury decision in the Darren Wilson case is made public.
Speaking Sunday on ABC’s This Week, the president said he doesn’t want a repeat of this past August.
When Better Together formed last year, it was already planning to examine how the region polices itself — especially because St. Louis County has so many different departments that patrol towns and cities.
But the review became more than just a theoretical exercise after the shooting death of Michael Brown. The roughly 60 police departments throughout St. Louis County underwent intense scrutiny for aggressive ticketing, little racial diversity and the targeting of African Americans. There have been widespread calls for substantial changes.