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.

Missouri Supreme Court denies stay for Kevin Johnson’s execution

By: - November 28, 2022

The Missouri Supreme Court late Monday night refused to delay the execution of Kevin Johnson, a St. Louis man sentenced to die for a murder he committed when he was 19.  The execution of Johnson, who was convicted in 2007 of killing a police officer, will be carried out during the 24-hour period beginning at […]

Kevin Johnson’s attorneys, special prosecutor ask Missouri Supreme Court to stay execution

By: - November 22, 2022

Attorneys for a St. Louis man sentenced to die for a murder he committed when he was 19 asked the Missouri Supreme Court Monday to delay his execution to allow for a hearing on alleged constitutional violations in his original trial. Kevin Johnson was convicted in 2007 of killing a police officer. He is scheduled […]

Marijuana vote divided Missouri social-justice leaders. Can an equity officer be a bridge?

By: - November 17, 2022

Longtime cannabis activist Brennan England has gotten lots of undeserved praise since Missourians approved a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana on Nov. 8. As the owner of a private cannabis consumption lounge in St. Louis, England understood why people thought he’d have a “go weed or go home” stance.  But it wasn’t that simple for […]

St. Louis challenge to police ‘bill of rights’ dismissed by Missouri judge

By: - November 15, 2022

A Missouri judge Monday dismissed the City of St. Louis’ effort to block a 2021 law bolstering protections for police under investigation for misconduct.  The city sued in December asking Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem to toss out the “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights,” a list of new requirements that includes giving officers […]

Bobby Bostic released on parole after being imprisoned in Missouri for 27 years

By: and - November 9, 2022

Standing on the Missouri Capitol steps moments after being released from prison, Bobby Bostic said the first place he planned to visit was his mother’s grave in St. Louis — a city he’d last freely walked in 1995. “I’m a free man all because of you all who supported me,” Bostic, 43, said Wednesday morning […]

Missouri voters amend state constitution to legalize recreational marijuana

By: - November 9, 2022

Missourians voted Tuesday to become the 21st state to legalize recreational marijuana, approving a constitutional amendment that also establishes a process to clear nonviolent marijuana-related charges from Missourians’ criminal records. Though down from the 66% of voters who approved medical cannabis in 2018, the recreational marijuana amendment on Tuesday received 53% of the vote. “Today’s […]

Missouri Republican explores legislative push to require schools to have armed security

By: - November 7, 2022

Within seven minutes of receiving a 911 call about an active shooter in a St. Louis high school, police and armed security guards were already in the building and engaging the suspect in gun fire.  The immediate response by police and school security on Oct. 24 at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School has […]

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announces opposition to Missouri marijuana amendment

By: - November 1, 2022

In a move highlighting a growing divide among Black leaders and organizations in Missouri over a push to legalize marijuana, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones on Tuesday announced she would oppose the measure appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot as Amendment 3.  While she supports legalization, Jones said she doesn’t support etching what she believes […]

St. Louis leaders call for ban on assault rifles following school shooting

By: - October 26, 2022

The first time St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones publicly spoke about the tragic shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, it was just hours after a shooter took the lives of a 15-year-old student and a health teacher.  Jones was so visibly shaken with grief she could barely get out the words. Now […]

Missouri voters to decide if the state can dictate increased Kansas City police funding

By: - October 24, 2022

If Missouri voters approve Amendment 4 in the Nov. 8 general election, Kansas City will be required to increase funding for its police department.  But many voters may not understand that from the language they’ll see on the ballot.  Amendment 4 reads: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to authorize laws, passed before December 31, […]

Election deniers ramp up public records requests in Missouri, across the country

By: - October 24, 2022

Like most people, McDonald County Clerk Kimberly Bell had never heard of a “cast vote record” before this summer. It’s not a report she’s ever generated after an election in the small county in southwestern Missouri, where she has administered elections for eight years.  But like many county clerks and election officials across the country, […]

St. Louis advocates optimistic the city’s reparations effort will advance

By: - October 14, 2022

Reparations is often something people hear about in an international setting — such as ongoing reparations that are paid to Holocaust survivors or reparations South Africa paid to apartheid victims. This weekend, elected officials — including St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and Congresswoman Cori Bush — will gather for a “Reparations Block Party and Teach-in” […]