Civil Rights

Senate resolution condemns 1852 Missouri Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott case

BY: - February 9, 2021

For two brief periods of his life, Dred Scott was a free man. The first period of freedom began with the decision of a St. Louis jury in January 1850 and continued until March 1852. During that time, Scott and his wife, Harriet, were emancipated because Missouri law recognized they were freed when their owners […]

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 […]

Ag nominee Vilsack battles skepticism from Black farmers ahead of confirmation hearing

BY: - February 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Tom Vilsack, the president’s pick to lead the Agriculture Department, will likely face questions about his treatment of Black farmers and his record on civil rights at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the former Iowa governor, who also served as USDA chief […]

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 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 […]

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,” […]

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 […]

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 […]

Judge tosses lawsuit challenging Missouri medical marijuana license caps

BY: - December 21, 2020

A Cole County judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit alleging limitations on the number of medical marijuana licenses issued by the state were unconstitutional.  Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce ruled that the regulations at the heart of the lawsuit were “properly promulgated and are in compliance with Missouri’s laws and Constitution.” She ruled […]

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 […]