Inmate Trusted to Transport Himself from One Prison to Another; It Does Not Work Out

Categories: Crime

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Loco Steve via Flickr
Smell you later, Greyhound.

According to his attorney, Kim T. Collins was doing great in prison. So well, in fact, that his security level was lowered and he was considered to be a "low-risk" inmate.

Because of that, he was granted a transfer from the Federal Correctional Center in Forrest City, Arkansas, to the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, to be closer to his family. The Federal Bureau of Prisons had so much faith in Collins they decided, heck, he can just take himself. They booked him some Greyhound bus tickets, gave him some "walking around money" according to Collins' attorney, and opened the gates.

Well, Collins' 247-mile journey did not go according to plan. Depending on who you ask, it was either his fault or it wasn't, but the end result is the same -- he just pleaded guilty to escape for cooling his heels for six months at his girlfriend's house in Alton.

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ACLU Sues City of Pine Lawn for Police Corruption and Harassment

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Jessica Lussenhop
ACLU's executive director Jeffrey Mittman and former Pine Lawn mayor Adrian Wright.

At a press conference this morning, former Pine Lawn mayor Adrian Wright announced that he is suing the city, disgraced former mayor Sylvester Caldwell, and former Pine Lawn police officer Jarred Anderson for using the city's police force to intimidate and embarrass him for political gain. The ACLU of Missouri is representing Wright, with help from the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP.

Wright was mayor of Pine Lawn until 2005, and has been a vocal critic of Caldwell for many years. Caldwell resigned in April after pleading guilty to extortion for demanding bribes in exchange for city contracts.

"I think you'll be shocked to find out what happened to Mr. Wright," said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri.

What happened in Wright's case is indicative of the habitual abuse of power by police in Pine Lawn, much of it at the behest of Caldwell, Mittman said.

"Ferguson and Pine Lawn are not alone," Mittman said. "We will be providing the proof."

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Michael Brown Memorial Tree One of Two Destroyed in Ferguson

Categories: Crime, Ferguson

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Tony Rice aka @search4swag
The damaged Michael Brown memorial tree and the hole where a plaque once sat.
UPDATE: We've updated this story to include comments from a member of the Black Caucus' executive committee. See our update at the bottom of the post.

Original story follows....

On Saturday, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association dedicated a memorial in January-Wabash Park in Ferguson honoring Michael Brown.

By Sunday, the memorial had already been destroyed -- the tree planted in Brown's honor damaged, and the stone memorial missing, KMOV (CHannel 4) reports.

As it turns out, however, two trees at the January-Wabash Park were damaged this weekend, and now two plaques are missing, says activist Tony Rice, who visited the site this morning. The tree featured in the KMOV report that was completely destroyed was dedicated to someone else -- the Michael Brown tree was damaged but still has some leafy green leaves on top.

However, both trees are missing their plaques. Brown's had said simply, "In Memory of Michael Brown Jr. Dedicated tree 4/15."

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St. Louis County Police Shoot and Kill 23-Year-Old Thaddeus McCarroll in Jennings

Categories: Crime

The video above is from the body camera of one of several officers who responded to the home of Thaddeus McCarroll last night.

According to a release from St. Louis County police, McCarroll's mother called authorities because her 23-year-old son locked her out of the house, was wielding a knife and talking about being on a "journey" or "mission." The press statement says officers observed McCarroll walking around inside the house with "several knives and a Samurai sword."

The video is very grainy and was not directly pointed at McCarroll when police say he came out of the house holding a knife, then charged at them at "full speed" after a "less lethal round" shot at him had no effect.

Click through for the full police narrative. We'll have more information as the story develops.

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Local Podiatrist Charged Taxpayers $999,170 for Toenail Clippings

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Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Steve DePolo
Toenail clippings earned a Chesterfield podiatrist nearly $1 million -- but he won't be laughing all the way to the bank.
As far as white-collar crime goes, this is pretty icky stuff: Prosecutors say a St. Louis-area podiatrist charged the state and federal government nearly $1 million merely for clipping the toenails of Missouri's elderly residents.

And here's where prosecutors got involved: Podiatrist Lawrence B. Iken racked up those fees by telling Medicare and Medicaid that he'd instead been draining those elderly feet of their abscesses and hematomas.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Iken submitted $999,170 in fraudulent billings, for thousands of miscategorized incidents.

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Arson Guts North County Home, Claiming Life of Beloved Rescue Dog

Categories: Community, Crime

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Greg Stinson and Nichole Torpea with Murphy in happier times.
Greg Stinson and his fiancee, Nichole Torpea, were both at work on Monday (he at Ralston-Purina, she at a St. Charles garden center) when they began receiving frantic messages from a neighbor they barely knew. "Your house is on fire. You need to come home now!"

They rushed back to St. John, the north St. Louis County municipality where Stinson had bought a home in 2003. But it was already too late.

"At that point, everything that had been done was done," Stinson says.

The house was a burnt shell. Virtually all of their possessions had been destroyed. And their dog, a beloved lab mix rescue named Murphy, was dead.

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Judge Throws Out Marijuana Charge After State Fails to Turn Over Dash-Cam Footage [UPDATE]

Categories: Crime, Police

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BND via YouTube
Dash-cam footage showed Highland police officer Charles Allen arresting Patrick Luchtefeld.
In most small-quantity weed busts, it's normal for the defendant to plead guilty, pay a fine and move on. Case closed. However, Patrick M. Luchtefeld, a 32-year-old Trenton, Illinois, resident, believed he had been unfairly profiled when a Highland, Illinois, cop arrested him in September during a traffic stop. The officer allegedly found a small baggy of weed near the car's passenger seat and charged Luchtefeld, who was not driving, with possessing between 2.5 and 10 grams of marijuana.

Luchtefeld didn't take the charge lying down, saying he'd been profiled because of his tattoos and prior convictions. He got a lawyer and filed a request under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the dash-cam footage of the arrest. He received four CDs containing the video several days later.

During the trial last month, Madison County prosecutors revealed they had no idea there was a recording of the arrest. Even stranger, the arresting officer, Charles Allen, testified that the dash-cam footage didn't exist.

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Suspect Who Allegedly Shot Two Officers Confessed to "Confidential Source"

Categories: Crime, Ferguson

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St. Louis County PD
Jeffrey L. Williams' booking photo.

According to the warrant issued for his arrest, Jeffrey L. Williams told a confidential source that he is responsible for shooting and wounding two police officers at the Ferguson Police Department on March 12.

As first reported by Yahoo News, the warrant details how an informant who had been "proven reliable in previous law enforcement investigations" contacted Ferguson Police Department detective Robert Brannan to say that he or she "had a phone conversation with a subject who claimed he was involved in the shooting of two police officers in the City of Ferguson."

The informant met with Brannan, where he or she was given a hidden audio and video recording device, then went to see Williams at his house in north St. Louis.

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15-Year-Old Suspect Arrested After Shooting in Delmar Loop

Categories: Crime

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Google Street View
The 6100 block of Delmar Boulevard.

Two freelance photographers were in the Delmar Loop Saturday night to cover a Ferguson-related protest when they say a fifteen-year-old suspect took a shot at them.

"I saw it in his hands, I saw the muzzle flash when he shot at us," says James Cooper, a Kirkwood resident who has covered the protests extensively since this past summer. "I think we just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time."

The incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m., following a protest in the Loop during which activists marched in the street and closed down the busy intersection of Skinker and Delmar boulevards. However, the shooting happened after organizers had declared the action a success and demonstrators dispersed.

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Woman Sues Florissant Police in Federal Court for Excessive Force, Civil Rights Violations

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Joy Arnold and Officer Kyle Feldman just moments before the altercation at the center of a lawsuit.

Joy Arnold and the Florissant Police Department agree on one thing: She should never have been arrested on March 29, 2014.

Weeks before then, Arnold was pulled over in the north-county municipality and charged with an infraction for a "defective muffler." She was fined and entered into a payment plan with the city, but found herself short on funds for her February 2014 installment. She was able to pay only a portion at the beginning of the month, and a Florissant court clerk called to tell her she needed to get up to date or risk a warrant being issued for her arrest. Arnold did manage to make the payment before the end of February, and pay for March as well.

It didn't matter. Owing to a clerical error, Arnold's account was never brought up to date and a warrant for her arrest still went out. That's what led to a physical altercation in the Florissant jail that is now the center of a federal civil-rights lawsuit between Arnold and the city's cops.

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