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Cunningham, Storch win key legislative contests

Oct 8, 2017

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - State Rep. Jane Cunningham beat Gina Loudon for the Republican nomination for state senate in the 7th district - the seat held by Loudon's husband John. The margin was 46 percent to 38 percent.  Neal St. Onge finished third.

A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
M Glasgow | Flickr

It’s been almost a week since a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in Las Vegas. The shooter used a device called a bump stock to modify his gun so that it could function as a machine gun. Politicians have unified around one thing: further regulations around the bump stock. But dealers at a gun show in St. Charles this weekend said the demand for the bump stock was up.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed how protests over the Stockley verdict have evolved.

Earlier this week, St. Louis police arrested 143 demonstrators after Interstate 64 was blocked for a time.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has put out a call for trooper applicants, while it acknowledges it has struggled to attract minority recruits. The agency's 99th recruit class graduated in December.
File photo I Courtesy Missouri Department of Public Safety I Flickr

The Missouri State Highway Patrol remains a predominantly white and male law enforcement agency. And efforts to change that reality haven’t made much headway over the last few years.

According to the most recent numbers, 94 percent of Missouri Highway Patrol troopers that are on the road are white. The percentage of minority troopers peaked in 1989 at 10 percent, but is now at 5.71 percent, with 2.6 percent being African-American.

And the Missouri Highway Patrol also lacks gender diversity: 5 percent of its officers on the road are women.  

Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, is sponsoring legislation that would implement a photo ID requirement for voting.
File photo I Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Justin Alferman back to the program.

The Hermann Republican represents Missouri's the 61st House District, which takes in portions of Gasconade, Franklin and Osage counties. Alferman is vice chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, which is in charge of shaping the state’s spending priorities every year.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson former co-chair of the Ferguson Commission
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

After the demonstrations that followed a Ferguson police officer’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, the 16-member Ferguson Commission came up with a list of recommendations to address policing and the region’s disparities in jobs, education and policing. But many African-Americans say elected leaders have yet to adopt those proposals —and that has helped fuel a new wave of protests.

In the three weeks that followed a judge’s decision to acquit former St. Louis officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, people have again taken to the streets. The Rev. Starsky Wilson and others say the latest protests — including Tuesday night’s shutdown of Interstate 64 — are acts of social disruption aimed at compelling regional leaders to act.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s new campaign donation restrictions have given new status to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.  He now is collecting more large contributions than any other political candidate in the state.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (second from left) argues with Councilman Sam Page during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Page sponsored a bill halting construction at the site of an ice center.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is preparing to go to court to determine if it has the power to hire county employees over the objection of County Executive Steve Stenger.

But first, a judge will have to decide who pays the council’s lawyers.

Police arrested dozens of people on Oct. 3, 2017, after they blocked part of Interstate 64.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 4 at 9:55 a.m. with the number of arrests — The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department arrested 143 people protesting Jason Stockley’s acquittal  Tuesday night after they blocked a section of Interstate 64 in St. Louis.

It’s the latest demonstration after a judge found Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, on Sept. 15. Demonstrators aredemanding police officers stop killing black people throughout St. Louis.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks before the Board of Aldermen's Public Safety Committee on Oct. 3, 2017.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner contends the current system of investigating a police officer who kills someone is “broken,” prompting her to ask for more than $1 million for her department to handle the cases from start to finish.

Gardner brought her proposal to the public safety committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Tuesday. Some committee members expressed support for the idea.

Updated at 6:55 a.m. ET Tuesday

Less than 24 hours after the massacre at an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas, authorities are still piecing together what shooter Stephen Paddock did in preparation for his deadly shooting rampage that left 59 people dead and 527 others injured.

There is still a lot they don't know about what motivated Paddock, described by officials as a "lone wolf," to launch the most deadly mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart
File photo I Chris McDaniel I St. Louis Public Radio

Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, is running to become the next county executive of Jefferson County.

It’s the latest electoral pursuit for Roorda, a former Democratic state representative who has attracted local and national attention, and controversy, for his law enforcement advocacy after several police-involved killings in the St. Louis area.

Heather Highland, Nicolle Barton and Aaron Banks, members of St. Louis' Civilian Oversight Board.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard about the plans for the next steps of the Civilian Oversight Board, whose function it is to investigate complaints made against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

A two-year-old organization, the group is trying to determine ways to be more effective in investigating claims and improving police-community relations in St. Louis.

Dr. Keon Gilbert, assistant professor of behavioral science and health education at the College for Public Health and Social Justice at SLU.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Saint Louis University professor Keon Gilbert joined host Don Marsh to discuss his research on the police shootings of black men.

Gilbert is an assistant professor of behavioral science and health education at the College for Public Health and Social Justice at SLU.

Protester Nicole Greer helps Penrose resident Antoine Jones register to vote Oct. 1, 2017 in St. Louis.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After more than two weeks of protesting the Jason Stockley verdict in the streets, in malls and in business districts, protest organizers implemented a different tactic Sunday. They’re encouraging political engagement as well.

Demonstrators gathered at Wohl Community Center in north St. Louis Sunday afternoon to register voters.

State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. told a crowd of a few hundred people that the protests won’t end, but it’s time to put a new tool in place.

Demonstrators march through the St. Louis Galleria on Saturday evening as they continue protests against the acquittal of Jason Stockley and police violence against black people. Sept. 30, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A week after St. Louis County police arrested 22 people following a peaceful demonstration at the Galleria mall, protesters returned to the shopping center in a short and tightly executed display of resistance they vowed to continue.

Dozens of protesters went to the mall at about 6 p.m. to let police, business leaders and others know that they would not be deterred in their fight to end police violence against black people. They gained a diverse group of followers inside the mall before heading to the intersection of Brentwood Boulevard and Galleria Parkway.

“If people are a little uncomfortable, cool. If people are stuck in traffic, cool. If they’re mad because they can’t buy something, cool,” Democratic state Rep. Bruce Franks said. “We’re going to keep affecting the economy. We’re going to keep disrupting.”

Rasheen Aldridge, activist and democratic committeeman for the 5th Ward, wipes his eyes after police officers sprayed chemicals at protesters near Busch Stadium. Sept. 29, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A three-hour protest late Friday in downtown St. Louis ended in a tense confrontation between police and demonstrators.

People in the crowd of protesters said police used chemical agents on some protesters and shot one person with a Taser. Police confirmed they made at least two arrests.

The turmoil followed a night of peaceful demonstrations that took protesters from Kiener Plaza to Busch Stadium, where they chanted at police behind barricades. The protesters demanded that police stop using deadly force on black people.

Protesters and small business owners march to City Hall to attend a Board of Alderman meeting a hold a press conference on Sept. 29, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Joe Vaccaro on Friday asked his Board of Aldermen colleagues to honor the city’s police officers, one week after they did the same for a black man killed by a white former police officer in 2011.

Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, introduced a resolution that thanks the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for working long hours to protect citizens and businesses during two weeks of protests since the Sept. 15 acquittal of Jason Stockley.

File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we went “Behind the Headlines” with updates from the second week of protests in response to the Jason Stockley acquittal.

Reporter Willis Ryder Arnold and Executive Editor Shula Neuman, from the St. Louis Public Radio newsroom, joined the program to help bring us up to speed.

Relatives of Mansur Ball-Bey stand on the courthouse steps as attorneys speak to reporters on Thursday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit Friday against St. Louis and St. Clair County for alleged police misconduct during 2015 protests after Mansur Ball-Bey was fatally shot by police.

The lawsuit claims officers used excessive force on protesters by “shooting tear gas and pepper spray at them though they were unarmed, non-threatening, non-violent, non-resisting and not suspected of committing any crime.”

Helen Lubeley Murray fills the display cases at Lubeley's Bakery Thursday morning.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

 Customers have been lining up before sunrise all this week at Lubeley’s Bakery and Deli in south St. Louis County for one last chance to buy their favorite strudels and stollens and split-layer cakes. The bakery will close on Saturday, after 80 years of business in the St. Louis area.

Helen Lubeley Murray said she and her brother Bob — who took over the bakery from their parents four decades ago — are going to hang up their aprons and retire.

Protesters stood silently with hands raised in the middle of Market Street near St. Louis City Hall.
File photo | Brit Hanson | St. Louis Public Radio

A simple concept underpins the American legal system: equal treatment.

But the ideal more often is missed than met — at least that’s what protesters argue during the near-daily demonstrations since the Sept. 15 acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer in the 2011 shooting death of a black man.

The recent events once again have some local attorneys trying to square their faith in a system they’re supposed to respect despite its flaws.

Michelle Higgins clarifies protesters' main demand – "stop killing us" – at the People's Town Hall at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis. Sept. 28, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:25 p.m. with details from protest — Activists put forth an updated list of demands Thursday, including that new St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson resign. But Thomas Harvey, the head of ArchCity Defenders, told St. Louis Public Radio that the main thing protesters want is simple: “Stop killing us.”

Later in the evening, a group of protesters returned to Washington Avenue, close to where mass arrests were made on Sept. 17, sparking three lawsuits against the city. After protesters surrounded a police car for a few minutes, yelling at the officers inside, a line of police in riot gear showed up. The group eventually moved on, and the protest ended after about two hours, with no arrests.

WBEZ

Abortions will be covered by state health insurance and Medicaid under a bill that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Thursday.

“No woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on income,” the Republican said during a news conference, after which he signed the measure privately.

He is running for re-election in 2018, and the move could prompt Republicans to put up a challenger in the primary.

St. Louis Police face off with protesters on September 15, 2017, the day a judge acquitted Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Police departments are standing by their officers’ response to protesters after days of civil disobedience throughout the St. Louis region.

Although three lawsuits have been filed against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, officials are confident the majority of their officers complied with the department's use-of-force policy, which establishes guidelines, though one area law professor argues those guidelines are up for interpretation.

State police block protesters from continuing down Brentwood Blvd. toward Interstate 64 on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 during a march in Richmond Heights.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

In the weeks since a judge found former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, protesters have taken to the streets nearly every night.

While most of the people involved acted peacefully, in several incidents police have arrested demonstrators, and in some cases used tactics that are coming under scrutiny for their legality.

As a result, the city of St. Louis and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are the targets of several lawsuits.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley shares evidence included in a motion to dismiss Backpage's lawsuit against him.
File photo I Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 28 with name of attorney — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday he’ll hire outside help to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in connection with a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Percy Green and Cori Bush, two activists of different generations, sat down to talk to each other about what has changed - and what hasn't - in the movement.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis on the Air

Here in St. Louis, we’re well into the second week of protests following the acquittal of Jason Stockley. It’s a scene we’ve seen as recently in 2014, when protests erupted in response to the police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr.

September 22, 2017 photo. Some Oktoberfest revelers in St. Charles' Frontier Park weren't happy to see protesters in a Sept. 22 demonstration.
Ryan Delaney| St. Louis Public Radio

People protesting daily against what they see as systemic police violence against African-Americans aren’t the only St. Louis-area residents who say they want to be heard.

Many white residents don’t support the protests. They can’t understand why demonstrators are pinning their protests to the not-guilty verdict for Jason Stockley, a white, former St. Louis police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, in 2011. Smith was 24.

Missouri Eastern Correctional Center
File photo | Katelyn Mae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Department of Corrections allegedly retaliates against prisoners who file complaints against prison guards and other officials, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Filed in St. Louis County Court by the MacArthur Justice Center at St. Louis, the lawsuit claims inmates who file complaints regularly have their cells searched, are denied privacy for telephone calls and lawyer visits and, in some cases, are transferred to facilities greater distances away from their families.

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