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In the past two decades, the federal government took in $36.5 billion in assets police seized from people, many of whom never were charged with a crime or shown to have drugs.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Supreme Court Decision Could Spur Reform Of Civil Asset Forfeiture

This story is part of a collaborative-reporting initiative supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. All stories can be found here: https://taken.pulitzercenter.org/

The U.S. Supreme Court limited police seizures of property this week in a decision that could begin curbing the civil asset-forfeiture process criticized as "policing for profit." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s decision for a unanimous court does not directly affect civil asset forfeitures in Missouri, Illinois or most states. But Missouri Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, was “emboldened” by the decision. He used it to orchestrate committee passage of a tough bill that would cut off the biggest source of seized money that police use for new squad cars, prisons and weapons.

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St. Louis Public Radio Investigates

Taken: How Police Profit from Seized Property

A data-driven investigation of civil asset forfeiture by St. Louis Public Radio, supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

St. Louis, MO – They may be waiting a long time. Half a dozen St. Louis-area citizens are staking out the offices of House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt in hopes he will change
his stance on war with Iraq.

Anti-war advocates showed up at Gephardt's St. Louis office at 9 a.m. They say they will wait until he announces publicly that he is withdrawing endorsement of a war resolution authorizing use of force on Iraq.

St. Louis, MO – Two undercover police officers were injured last night after a speeding car they were not pursuing collided with their car.

Uniformed St. Louis police officers were chasing a Firebird that made a U-turn and hit a car driven by undercover drug officers. One officer is in critical condition with broken ribs and bones; the other is in fair condition. The conditions are not thought to be life threatening.

Police arrested three men after the incident.

Jefferson City, MO – Laclede Gas customers can expect slightly higher bills soon. Thursday, Missouri's Public Service Commission approved a rate increase for the company.

That means within the next month, the typical natural gas customer will start paying about $1.80 more per month. Laclede originally sought an increase of almost $4.50 a month. As part of the plan, the company also agrees to freeze rates until March of 2004.

Laclede serves more than 600,000 customers in and around St. Louis.

St. Louis, MO – They may be waiting a long time. Half a dozen St. Louis-area citizens are staking out the offices of House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt in hopes he will change
his stance on war with Iraq.

Anti-war advocates showed up at Gephardt's St. Louis office at 9 a.m. They say they will wait until he announces publicly that he is withdrawing endorsement of a war resolution authorizing use of force on Iraq.

St. Louis, MO – Lambert airport officials evacuated the East Terminal and D Concourse around noon Friday when a security screener noticed a suspicious item in a passenger's luggage. The item turned out to be a small knife. Security personnel were unable to stop the passenger before he left the screening area. Despite that, federal security director Bill Switzer says everything was done properly.

St. Louis, MO – The Cardinals' trip to the post-season will add millions to the local economy.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association says each home game during the current series against Arizona will bring in about $2.1 million. If the Redbirds make the full run through the World Series, the total economic impact could reach $178 million.

The Cards lead their best-of-five Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 1-0. Game two is today in Arizona, starting at 3:00pm.

East St. Louis, IL – East St. Louis Police Chief Delbert Marion says he opposes a cost-cutting plan to combine his department with several nearby squads.

East St. Louis City Councilman Charles Powell suggested the move in an effort to trim more than one million dollars from the city's budget.

Powell also suggested the city turn over its emergency dispatch services to Saint Clair County.

Fulton, MO – Westminster College in Fulton will lower tuition next fall.

New students will pay $12,300 dollars for the academic year that starts next fall. That figure is down from this year's $15,360.

The liberal arts college started this academic year with a record enrollment of 751. The school's president says the tuition discount is an effort to get that number up to 900 by 2006.

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