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.

Howard County Jail closed as COVID outbreak hits sheriff, inmates

By: and - December 3, 2020

An entire jail in central Missouri is empty today due to a COVID-19 outbreak among inmates and staff. The Howard County Sheriff’s Department closed Saturday and sent the 15 detainees to Cooper County. Sheriff Mike Neal, at least one deputy and most of the jail staff are infected with the coronavirus. The department posted a […]

Federal judge denies ACLU request to halt Missouri eviction proceedings

By: - November 25, 2020

A federal judge on Tuesday denied the ACLU’s request to halt eviction proceedings in Missouri courts for the next five weeks. The ACLU and ACLU of Missouri filed a federal lawsuit in late September on behalf of KC Tenants, a grassroots organization that advocates for safe and affordable housing. The suit claims that a Jackson […]

Five years after Ferguson report, some say progress has come too slow

By: - November 24, 2020

Like so many around the country, Dr. L.J. Punch was glued to the television on the night of Nov. 24, 2014. That night, the country learned that then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. Punch was a critical-care surgeon working in Houston […]

Many Missouri tenants lack legal counsel during eviction proceedings

By: - November 23, 2020

When disabled veteran Eddie Logan learned his landlord had filed for his eviction, he began gathering evidence of what he considered the property’s “derelict conditions” to fight it and represent himself. He had less than a week to prepare for a hearing on Aug. 17 that, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, was going to […]

As Missouri COVID cases surge, what does it mean to be ‘safe’ in the pandemic?

By: - November 17, 2020

Cat O’Toole says she did everything right to protect herself and others from COVID-19.  “I am strict about mask wearing,” said O’Toole, who works as a server at a high-end restaurant in St. Louis. “I am constantly using hand sanitizer and thoroughly washing my hands, especially after talking with a guest or walking up to […]

Missouri sets new record for COVID cases. Health director warns to avoid holiday gatherings

By: and - November 12, 2020

Missourians should not hold big family Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings this year, but they will likely be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine by the spring, the state health director said Thursday. In an interview on KCMO radio, Randall Williams said the rapid spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, especially in outstate Missouri, is […]

Q&A with Cori Bush, Missouri’s first black Congresswoman

By: - November 12, 2020

Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush has told the same story ever since her first campaign in 2016. At one point in her life, she was a working nurse and single mother living out of her car with her children — never imagining she’d ever find herself in that situation.  “I was that person running for my life […]

Police chokeholds, no-knock warrants spark debate in Missouri House committee

By: - November 11, 2020

As state lawmakers mull the idea of restricting police use of chokeholds or no-knock warrants, they are facing pushback from law enforcement organizations who contend decisions should be made at the local level. The House Special Committee on Criminal Justice met for three hours on Monday to explore the possibility of passing legislation restricting these […]

Tishaura Jones announces bid for St. Louis mayor

By: - November 4, 2020

St. Louis city is divided by one long road — Delmar Boulevard.  Walk south of Delmar, and you’ll find a vibrant business district and affluent residential neighborhood. Walk north, and it looks like a country that’s been bombed out in a war decades ago and never rebuilt.  This inequity is at the heart of the […]

Ann Wagner prevails over Jill Schupp to hold on to St. Louis-area Congressional seat

By: - November 3, 2020

Republican U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner will continue representing Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District for another two years, defeating Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp on Tuesday night in a race that has drawn national attention.   With all precinct reporting, Wagner defeated Schupp 52 percent to 45 percent. In an interview with reporters prior to voting Wagner said, […]

Eric Schmitt defeats Rich Finneran in Missouri attorney general race

By: - November 3, 2020

Attorney General Eric Schmitt secured his position as the state’s top legal officer for four years on Tuesday night, defeating his Democratic challenger Rich Finneran.  With around half precincts reporting, the Republican incumbent was declared the winner by the Associated Press around 10:15 p.m., leading Finneran 62 percent to 35 percent.  “You wanted a tough on […]

Can Missourians turn in unsent mail-in ballots at the polls? Depends on where you live

By: - November 3, 2020

Lauri Ealom was still hard at work at the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners office on Friday at 7 p.m. ― as was most of the staff.  And, they were exhausted. “This is a nightmare,” said Ealom, the board’s Democratic director, in a phone call with The Independent Friday night. “This particular election has […]