Author

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas covers civil rights, criminal justice and immigration. She has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, most recently as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation's leading African-American newspaper.

Eric Schmitt denies involvement in call for Trump supporters to march on U.S. Capitol

By: - January 9, 2021

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt denies any knowledge of a robocall by an arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) encouraging “patriots” to participate in a march that ended in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Schmitt serves as vice chair of RAGA. The Rule of Law Defense Fund, the 501(c)(4) […]

Controversial aerial surveillance proposal in St. Louis moves forward

By: - January 6, 2021

St. Louis aldermen have advanced a bill proposing a three-year contract with a controversial aerial-surveillance program that claims to help solve and prevent murders.  After more than four hours of testimony Tuesday, an aldermanic committee voted 6-1 to approve a contract with Persistent Surveillance Services for the company to fly three surveillance planes over the […]

Prosecutors try to keep people out of pandemic-clogged courts through diversion programs

By: - December 30, 2020

When Julia Fogelberg was a public defender in St. Louis County, she saw how the criminal justice system could often do more harm than good.  Now working on the prosecutor side, she’s grateful that she can provide a different solution — like in the case of a single-mother of two she met this summer. The […]

Food stamp applicants struggle to get through Missouri call center line

By: - December 28, 2020

In normal times, the Missouri Bootheel has the highest rates of hunger in the state. “But when the pandemic hit, it made an already bad situation much worse,” said Lisa Church, chief advancement officer of the Southeast Missouri Food Bank.  The organization’s pantries and mobile food distribution were seeing as many as three times more […]

St. Francois County jail faces class-action lawsuit alleging ‘unlawful’ conditions

By: - December 21, 2020

When Bonne Terre resident Robert Hopple entered the St. Francois County Detention Center in May 2018, he was placed in a small holding cell with about ten other men for roughly three days.  Hopple, 49, says the jail staff gave him a urine-soaked mat and a thin blanket to sleep on the floor — while […]

Missouri may get 30 percent less of its second dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine

By: and - December 16, 2020

Missouri may be receiving about 25 to 30 percent less of the second dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine than it had anticipated, the state health department director said Wednesday. The state will “be seeing a little bit less” of the second scheduled dose, Randall Williams, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, […]

Missouri police recruits must soon take course on history of policing minority communities

By: - December 16, 2020

New recruits in Missouri’s law-enforcement academies will soon be required to take a two-hour course on the history of policing in minority communities.  The Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission — which sets the minimum standards for the basic training in Missouri — unanimously approved the measure on Tuesday. A POST subcommittee spent the last […]

Why did Fayette police raid a Black student’s house twice late at night?

By: - December 15, 2020

It was 8:30 p.m. on Halloween night, and Christopher Turner Jr. and his girlfriend had just gotten home from a Central Methodist University football game in Kansas.  Turner, 24, plays right defensive tackle for the team, and both are seniors at the small private college in Fayette, about 30 miles northwest of Columbia. The team […]

Federal eviction moratorium ends Dec. 31. Missouri rental aid program begins in January

By: - December 10, 2020

Missourians who have fallen behind on their rent due to the pandemic can seek relief through the Missouri Emergency Rental Arrears Program (ERAP) beginning in January. But housing advocates fear that the help won’t come soon enough to prevent thousands of Missourians from being evicted on January 1, when the federal moratorium will be lifted. The […]

Missouri bills seek to shield drivers who hit protesters

By: and - December 10, 2020

Reacting to a summer marked by protests against police violence around the country, a pair of Missouri lawmakers are pushing for legislation shielding drivers from liability if they hit protesters with their cars. State Sen.-elect Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, is sponsoring a bill that would bar lawsuits against drivers for injuries to a person who “was […]

St. Louis Hospitalizations

‘This is a time of war,’ says St. Louis’ pandemic task force leader

By: - December 7, 2020

St. Louis area hospitals are seeing about 20 patients die every day. “That is 20 people a day who won’t be going back home to their loved ones,” said Dr. Alex Garza, incident commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, during his Monday briefing. That number has tripled since October, he said, and […]

St. Louis city board recommends further limitations on business capacity

By: - December 3, 2020

A St. Louis city advisory board has recommended that all businesses in the city reduce their capacity to 25 percent. The city currently mandates bars, restaurants and nightclubs limit their capacity to 50 percent of their permitted occupancy and to close by 11 p.m. “This has not been easy, but hard decisions have to be […]