First Suspect Charged with Murder After Bloody Night of Homicides in St. Louis

Google Maps
The 5000 block of Cates Avenue, where Leon Rivers was shot and killed in the street.
After a bloody night of shootings all over St. Louis city left six dead, police have arrested three suspects and charged one with murder.

Ramon Demery faces a murder charge for the killing of Leon Rivers, a 34-year-old man from the 4800 block of Penrose Street.

More »

Police Charge Ferguson Protesters for Robbery of Livestreamer Chris Schaefer

Courtesy of Chris Schaefer
A photo of Chris Schaefer shortly after he was allegedly beaten and robbed in a church.
The attack on Chris Schaefer during a strategy meeting last month at Greater St. Mark Missionary Church has resulted in charges -- second-degree robbery, a Class B felony -- for four Ferguson protesters.

The charges stem from the theft of Schaefer's iPhone and charger on November 6. Schaefer, a 22-year-old University of Missouri-St. Louis student, told police that during the meeting several protesters accused him of livestreaming the private gathering. He says they beat him, stole his phone and dragged him outside church, where he was able to run away and call 911. He was later treated at a hospital.

More »

Sunset Hills Mayor Accused of Striking Cyclist Faces Grand Jury, Impeachment

Tom Carlson
Mayor Mark Furrer's Mercedes parked outside Sunset Hills City Hall.
As the Sunset Hills board of alderman prepares to possibly impeach Mayor Mark Furrer for allegedly striking a cyclist with his car, a grand jury will investigate him for felony charges of assault and property damage, says the cyclist's attorney.

Court documents show Furrer is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday, but attorney Michelle Funkenbusch tells Daily RFT Furrer will instead face a grand jury on Wednesday, with the jury's decision expected by Thursday.

More »

Peaceful Protest In Clayton Over Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision Quickly Fizzles Out

Saddiyah Rice
We're pretty sure she means "McCulloch."
A Clayton demonstration organized to protest a grand-jury decision not to indict the police officer who choke-held Eric Garner to death in New York yesterday petered out after about an hour.

About 100 protesters gathered Wednesday evening at the foot of the steps to the St. Louis County Library in Clayton after news that the police officer who killed Garner would not be charged with a crime.

The Garner case had special significance in St. Louis, which has experienced near-nightly protests all over the city after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Last week, a grand-jury decision not to indict the then-Ferguson police officer who shot Brown was followed by a violent night of gun shots, looting, arson, tear gas and vandalism.

More »

Hands Up, Don't Apologize: St. Louis Rams, County Police Squabble Over Non-Apology

Jessica Lussenhop
Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County Police, says the Rams apologized.
Did St. Louis Rams VP Kevin Demoff apologize to St. Louis County Police for the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture at Sunday's game? Depends on whom you ask.

Police say yes, he apologized. That's because Demoff called county police chief Jon Belmar Monday after five Rams players took the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders with their hands raised, a symbol that has come to represent Michael Brown surrendering to Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson before being fatally shot in August.

More »

Recorder of Deeds: St. Louis Voters Ignore Scandals, Elect Sharon Carpenter

Steve Truesdell
Neither scandal or troubling audits could keep Sharon Carpenter from retaking the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds office.
Shrugging off the nepotism scandal that forced her resignation last summer as St. Louis' recorder of deeds, Sharon Carpenter steamrolled her way back into office yesterday, reclaiming her old job with 61 percent of the vote.

Carpenter was appointed as the city's recorder in 1980, won her first election in 1982, and remained a fixture of the St. Louis' Democratic political and power base for more than three decades. But in July, evidence that she'd violated the state's nepotism statute -- she had hired a great-nephew as a summer intern -- forced her to resign the remainder of the term, but that was as far as her punishment went. She vowed to return.

"What I know is that I know how to record deeds," she told Riverfront Times last month, echoing her campaign's focus on her years of experience and name recognition. "I know how to serve citizens, and I know how to build a staff that is the best in all city government."

More »

St. Louis Is Still Having Trouble Getting Rides from Uber, But That's Changing

St. Louis only has 119 black cars to split between Uber Black rides, business trips, airport pickups, wedding shuttles and more.
Does this sound familiar?

You're all glammed up, ready to hit the town on a weekend night, and you check your phone to book a ride. You click the Uber app to find a disappointing disclaimer: "There are no cars available at the moment." You hope things will be different at the end of the night, when you'll be in no state to drive yourself. But the Uber app falls through again: "No black cars available."

Uber Black technically launched in St. Louis October 9, but several Uber enthusiasts say they still haven't been able to catch a ride with the new, app-based service.

More »

What Are We Missing? How to Send News Story Tips to Riverfront Times

There's been no shortage of journalists in St. Louis lately. National and international media outlets have jumped at the chance to dive into one of the most difficult moments in St. Louis history. But just because there are more reporters in STL doesn't mean our city's story is being told correctly.

Here at Riverfront Times, we've been doggedly pursuing stories about police misconduct, racial tensions and community-building efforts long before Ferguson became #Ferguson, "ground zero" for protests, looting and standoffs with law enforcement. And we'll continue to tell those stories when the camera crews are gone for good.

So we're reaching out to you, the people of St. Louis, for guidance. We're looking for the stories that aren't being told, and we'd love your input.

More »

Ballwin Rejects "In God We Trust" Sign After Atheist Mother's Passionate Plea [VIDEO]

"This is what an atheist looks like," Nikki Moungo tells the Ballwin City Council.
Ballwin officials voted Monday to reject a plan to to put up an "In God We Trust" sign on city property.

The Holy Infant Knights of Columbus had pledged $750 to putting the motto on a sign in this St. Louis suburb. All the plan needed was the approval of the city's board of aldermen.

The aldermen voted 6 to 2 against displaying the motto "In God We Trust" in four-inch letters behind the dais, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ballwin originally seemed to support the proposed sign until Nikki Moungo, a Ballwin resident and self-proclaimed atheist, spoke out at an aldermanic meeting, asking the board not to alienate non-religious residents.

More »

Protesters Briefly Stop Traffic on I-270 Despite Michael Brown Sr.'s Request to Postpone

Image courtesy of Argus Streaming News
Protesters stand in the middle of I-270 near West Florissant Avenue to block traffic in honor of Michael Brown
Despite calls to postpone a mass shut down of Interstate 270 yesterday, a few protesters halted traffic on the highway near West Florissant Avenue, the street that's been the site of demonstrations since the August 9 killing of Michael Brown.

Hours before the highway shutdown was supposed to happen Monday, Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., along with other protest leaders -- Zaki Baruti, Anthony Shahid and Anthony Gray, the family's attorney -- announced a postponement of the protest. But a few people ventured out onto the highway anyway.

More »