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.

Federal appeals court sides with journalists who were tear-gassed in Ferguson protests

By: - February 6, 2021

On the fifth day of the Ferguson protests in August 2014, St. Charles County sent their SWAT team in armored military vehicles to help block off West Florissant Avenue, which was considered “Ground Zero” for the protests.  Ash-har Quraishi, Marla Cichowski and Sam Winslade — reporters who were working for Al Jazeera America news network […]

Bill to ban chokeholds now paired with controversial residency bill for Kansas City police

By: - February 2, 2021

Just as a criminal justice reform bill appeared to be gaining traction in the Missouri Senate, it was attached on Monday to a controversial measure to eliminate the requirement that Kansas City police officers live in the city. On its own, Democratic Sen. Brian Williams’ bill would ban police chokeholds, specifically neck restraints that restrict […]

Missouri takes steps toward tightening accountability for law enforcement

By: - January 29, 2021

Brian Williams grew up in Ferguson, where Michael Brown Jr.’s shooting death sparked a national movement for police accountability in 2014.  Four years later, he was elected to the Missouri Senate as a Democrat representing his hometown district.  Williams, now 37, recalls times of being pulled over for “just driving while black.”  “I was handcuffed […]

Missouri legislators, staff receive COVID vaccine intended for other state employees

By: and - January 27, 2021

Some Missouri state lawmakers received the initial doses of COVID vaccine Wednesday at an event that was intended for employees from Missouri’s Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation. Ahead of Gov. Mike Parson’s State of the State speech, Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate were seen entering and leaving the […]

Missouri House budget committee signs off on $320 million for rental assistance

By: - January 26, 2021

Missouri lawmakers are hoping to quickly approve about $320 million in funding for rental assistance — part of the $25 billion in rental assistance passed by Congress in December’s COVID-19 relief package. The House Budget committee unanimously voted to advance the funding bill Tuesday afternoon. House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Jasper County, expects the […]

Missouri housing advocates look to Biden administration to strengthen eviction moratorium

By: - January 25, 2021

Freezing rain was pouring down when sheriff deputies knocked on Anthony Stinson’s apartment door in Kansas City.  It was 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 6.  At that time in Washington D.C., armed insurrectionists had begun battling police officers at the U.S. Capitol. While people across the country were gasping in horror, Stinson’s children — a two-year-old […]

Missouri GOP push bill to discipline officers who ‘infringe’ on Second Amendment rights

By: - January 19, 2021

Missouri law enforcement officers could be permanently disbarred and face fines if they “infringe” on residents’ Second Amendment rights, under a bill debated by a state Senate committee on Tuesday.  Republican state Sen. Eric Burlison’s legislation would create a “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” which prohibits any state or local officer from enforcing federal firearms laws […]

Effort to stop charging 17-year-olds as adults has stalled in Missouri

By: - January 19, 2021

Khadijah Wilson had a bully during her junior year at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles. She told her principal and teachers about the name calling, and how the other girl constantly threatened to beat her up. But no one intervened. It went on for several months. “I reported it more and more,” […]

Aerial surveillance contract faces more roadblocks in St. Louis

By: - January 15, 2021

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is set to vote today on whether to enter into a contract with an aerial surveillance company to help combat crime in the city.  But the controversial contract may be running into a trio of roadblocks. The city’s attorney argues that the contract may be illegal. The company in […]

Record number of women, Black and LGBTQ lawmakers serving in Missouri’s legislature

By: and - January 11, 2021

Missouri’s 2021 legislative session will be barrier breaking.  The number of women serving is at an all-time high with 52 women lawmakers. It will have the most ever Black lawmakers serving with 25. There will be five openly LGBTQ lawmakers — what is believed to be another record. And the first Asian American woman was […]

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 […]