New Black Panther Member Arrested on Gun Charge Had Promoted Peace in Ferguson

Categories: News

Danny Wicentowski
In this August 14 photo, Olajuwon Ali, left, helps direct traffic during a celebratory protest in Ferguson. Ali, whose legal name is Olajuwon Davis, was indicted last week on weapons charges.
A U.S. District Court indicted two members of the St. Louis chapter of the New Black Panther Party Wednesday on federal weapons charges. The men were arrested Friday morning.

Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis are charged with lying on forms submitted during a gun purchase at the Cabela's sporting goods in Hazelwood earlier this month. According to a federal indictment, Baldwin had claimed to be buying two Hi-Point .45 ACP pistols for himself when he was actually acting as a straw purchaser for someone else. The indictment doesn't identify the intended recipient of the handguns.

Citing an anonymous police source, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that a months-long investigation uncovered Baldwin and Davis' plans to acquire weapons, "to do harm to law enforcement and the public." Yet other news media, including Reuters and ABC, cite their own anonymous sources to report that the FBI arrested Baldwin and Davis for allegedly planning pipe bomb attacks to take place during future Ferguson protests. KMOV also mentions the alleged pipe bomb plot, but its report doesn't make an explicit connection to Baldwin and Davis.

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Ferguson Business Owners Ask Protesters to Stay Peaceful After Grand Jury Decision

Categories: Bidness, Ferguson

Lindsay Toler
Businesses along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson prepare for more protests by boarding up.
Business at Dellena Jones' 911 Hair Salon, one of the many boarded-up storefronts along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, is down 70 percent after protests started there in August.

It's a common story on this street, where the burned-out husk of the QuikTrip looms as a reminder of the weeks of unrest that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. A local doctor says his business is down 35 percent, and he still needs to repair the windows and doors broken during the protests. A lawyer for Florissant Avenue businesses says his clients are "at a breaking point," still missing out on "millions and millions" of dollars in sales.

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5 Tips for Pet Owners In Case of More Unrest in St. Louis, Ferguson

Categories: Animals, Ferguson

nguyenhoangnam via flickr
The Humane Society of Missouri offers tips on handling civil unrest for pet owners.
St. Louis is getting ready.

Churches are setting up as safe spaces. Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency. Mayor Francis Slay is asking for hundreds of National Guard troops to help with security. Before the city finds out whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face charges for fatally shooting unarmed teen Michael Brown, St. Louis is gearing up for the protests and unrest that are sure to follow.

Saint Louis County Animal Care and Control is starting its own preparations in case the unrest affects families with pets. Partnering with the Humane Society of Missouri, animal control is preparing assistance for displaced or injured animals, as well as emergency pet supplies.

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In Time's Person of the Year Poll, Ferguson Protesters Are Ahead of the Pope, Taylor Swift

Categories: Ferguson

Steve Truesdell
Could Ferguson protesters win Time's Person of the Year poll?
Who should be Time magazine's 2014 Person of the Year? In the online readers' poll, Ferguson protesters are beating out dozens of household names.

Time's editors have bestowed the annual Person of the Year title on a person (or persons) who has influenced the news, for better or for worse, each year for nine decades. But the magazine also holds an annual online poll to gauge how readers feel about the year's newsmakers. So far, Ferguson protesters are polling high.

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Five Things We Learned from What the Hell Is St. Louis Thinking?

Categories: Books

Henry Goldkamp holds the anonymous, typed messaged that questioned the diversity of his What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking? project.
The first line of the first entry of What the Hell Is St. Louis Thinking? tells you almost everything you need to know about the story behind the book:

"Typewriters evoke a world of the immediate, a world in which our actions have immediate consequences, a world in which a thought becomes an incarnate word."

Who wrote that line? Nobody knows, not even the book's creator Henry Goldkamp. Yet it ably reflects Goldkamp's fascinations with typewriters and spontaneous poetry, interests he honed while hanging around the Grove and banging out verses for bar patrons on his 1957 Smith Corona. In August 2013 he set out to distribute dozens of typewriter stations across St. Louis, and bystanders were asked to anonymously write something -- anything -- and add it to the growing collection. The end result, as Goldkamp himself writes in the book's introduction, is akin to St. Louis "having a discussion with itself."

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Ferguson Mayor, Police Chief Say No More Media Interviews Until Grand Jury Decision

Categories: Ferguson

Lindsay Toler
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.
Ferguson's mayor and police chief will not talk to reporters until the grand jury announces whether officer Darren Wilson will face charges for fatally shooting unarmed teen Michael Brown.

The New York Times reports that it requested an interview with Mayor James Knowles on October 29 after rumors spread that chief Tom Jackson was about to resign. The city waited three weeks to respond, sending this unsigned statement Wednesday afternoon:

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Escort Service: These Downtown St. Louis Guides Will Walk You To Your Car For Free

Categories: Go!

Downtown St. Louis, Inc.
FYI, a downtown guide will escort you to your car for free.
Alone downtown? Need to walk to your car? Get an escort!

(No, not that kind of escort.)

Anyone who spends much time downtown has probably noticed St. Louis' guides, people dressed in yellow and black stationed around the area.

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For Sale on St. Louis Craigslist: Engagement Ring Edition

Categories: Community

Who wants to buy Mike Farris' engagement ring?
Even if you're not in the market, Craigslist postings of engagement rings for sale make for fascinating reading.

"The girl that it was for unfortunately left me...Willing to trade for a bike," writes one prospective seller. "Small, elegant, brilliant ring. Worn four days after Christmas," writes another.

But one post in particular caught Daily RFT's interest recently. Christine Farris, 26, of Tower Grove East, is selling the ring her 66-year-old father bought for the woman who left him after he had a stroke -- a fourteen-carat, white-gold ring with a one-third carat, princess-cut diamond and matching contour wedding band.

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Wearing Blackface, Sullivan High School Seniors Play Powder-Puff Football Game

Categories: Racism

Image from Facebook
Seniors at Sullivan High donned blackface for the school's annual powder-puff game.
When a dozen teen girls in blackface ran onto the Sullivan High School football field November 5 for a powder-puff game, Jennifer Schmidt recalls her gut reaction as, "Oh my gosh."

"And then I thought, 'Oh, they don't mean anything by it. Just let it go. No one thinks anything of it.' I didn't think anyone did," says Schmidt, the principal of Sullivan High School. "Evidently, someone did."

Evidently indeed. Photos taken during the game show twelve members of the senior class wearing dour expressions beneath full-blown blackface, and someone at the game shared those photos on Facebook. The reactions to the photos have been rippling within the small town of Sullivan (60 miles southwest of St. Louis) ever since.

The girls, says Schmidt, have been "very embarrassed and shocked at some of the responses they've gotten, because I think some people had some stuff on Facebook and got the wrong intention."

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Clayton Businesses Start Boarding Up Windows in Preparation for Grand Jury Announcement

Categories: Arts, Ferguson

Jessica Lussenhop
Wooden frames go up on the windows of Clayton businesses.

Daily RFT spotted three businesses on South Bemiston Avenue in downtown Clayton that have begun boarding up their windows. The stores -- a Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Diamond International and Tani Sushi Bistro -- are all less than a block away from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center where the grand jury has been deliberating on charges in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Their decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the incident is expected in a matter of days or weeks.

"It's the first phase. We're just taking a precaution for when the verdict does come," says Potbelly manager Marci Beasley. "We do probably plan on boarding up."

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