Schweich Spokesman Spence Jackson Dead From Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

Categories: News

Spence Jackson.
Spence Jackson, a long-serving media spokesman who had most recently worked for late Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, say police. Jackson was 44.

Jackson's death comes as a shocking new chapter in the aftermath of Schweich's apparent suicide last month. Though it's unclear how, or if, the two deaths are related, Jackson had been a vocal critic of Republican Party chairman John Hancock over his alleged role in spreading an anti-Semitic "whisper campaign" against Schweich, who was a front-runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Danforth has repeatedly denied the accusations, and the controversy has led to a rift among top Missouri Republicans.

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MO History Museum Contacted Jewish Group Before Nixing Ferguson-Palestine Event

Categories: Ferguson, News

Ray Downs
Activists organized last summer to protest the war in Gaza. The same activists are now mad at the Missouri History Museum.
Two days before a panel discussion on Ferguson, Palestine and the Ayotzinapa student massacre was set to kick off, the event's host, the Missouri History Museum, handed the panel's organizers an abrupt ultimatum: Remove Palestine from the agenda, or find a new location for the event.

Organizers refused to budge, the event was canceled and about 100 people protested outside the museum last week to accuse the St. Louis institution of "silencing" Palestinian voices. The event was later rescheduled at a different location.

Though the museum disputes accusations that it engaged in censorship, emails obtained by Daily RFT show that on the same day officials canceled the event, the museum's president, Frances Levine, was fielding concerned emails from the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. Further email correspondence reveal the that the museum specifically pressured an organizer to eliminate Palestine from the discussion panel.

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"Broad Fucking City" Shirt Gets College Student Ejected From St. Louis Flight

Categories: News

Fox 2
Don't bring F-bombs on planes, folks.
There are certain things that Southwest Airlines just won't tolerate. We already know the list includes saggy pants, making out with your girlfriend, and Kevin Smith, but as 22-year-old Daniel Podolsky learned Monday, another item is the word "fuck."

Podolsky wore a T-shirt which displayed the words "Broad Fucking City" on his flight, and it was apparently too vulgar for Southwest's friendly skies.

It all started when bad weather in Chicago caused Podolsky's flight from Dallas to make a stop in St. Louis, and he says he took advantage of the delay to walk around the Lambert terminal and use the bathroom. He had been wearing a jacket over the T-shirt during the flight, but he removed it to cool off as he left the plane.

That's when a Southwest agent at the gate spotted the shirt. Podolsky says the agent approached him, poked him in the chest and said, "'You can't be wearing that."

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Missouri History Museum Cancels Ferguson Event Over Inclusion of Palestine

Categories: Ferguson, News

Ray Downs
Supporters of Palestine held a vigil last year during the most recent war in Gaza.
Anyone who has sat through a rain-delayed baseball game can attest that there are times when, as the saying goes, the best laid plans go awry. But, as a group of student organizers and local activists learned Tuesday, plans can also go awry when the Missouri History Museum decides the issue of Palestine is too controversial to be handled at a public event.

The event in question, titled "Ferguson to Ayotzinapa to Palestine: Solidarity and Collaborative Action," was scheduled to run Thursday night and had been advertised as such for weeks on the museum's website. So organizers were surprised when museum officials abruptly changed their minds, demanding Palestine be removed from the event's program. The organizers refused.

"They gave us an ultimatum, either that we don't include Palestine or that we don't do the event. So at that point we said that we weren't going to do the event," Bradley Schlesinger, one of the event's organizers, told Washington University's Student Life.

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Happy Sunshine Week! Here are Missouri's Top 6 Most Secretive Organizations

Categories: News

Chad Garrison
Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson resigned after revelations about the city's policing tactics.
Open records can do amazing things. Just this week, Associated Press reporters used a combination of campaign records, vehicle records and Instagram to root out the shady expenses being billed by (now-resigned) Illinois congressman Aaron Schock. Here at Riverfront Times, we recently used Missouri's Sunshine Law to uncover troubling patterns in drug-offender sentencing. On the more mundane side of things, we benefit from the Sunshine Law every time we report from open government meetings.

Whether national or local, the various Sunshine laws represent versatile tools for opening governmental process to the masses, and so it makes sense that ten years ago the American Society of News Editors founded Sunshine Week, which kicked off on Monday.

However, Missouri's Sunshine Law regularly frustrates local advocacy groups and journalists. Not because of flaws in the law itself, per se, but because certain government agencies, legislative bodies and courts view compliance with the Sunshine Law as a mere suggestion.

So in celebration of Sunshine Week, we've compiled a list of Missouri's top six most transparency-averse governments, people and agencies.

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Online Donors Cover Funeral Costs for Slain 6-Year-Old Marcus Johnson

Categories: News

Twitter via Chuck_modi
The family of Marcus Johnson held a candlelight vigil Sunday night to remember the slain six-year-old.
An inexplicable shooting took the life of six-year-old Marcus Johnson on Wednesday last week. Now, the kindness of strangers will allow the grieving family to lay their son to rest for the last time.

St. Louis alderman Antonio French ably summed up the city's stunned reaction to the boy's death, tweeting on Saturday that "6-year-olds shouldn't die like Marcus Johnson did" before asking the public to help with funeral expenses. French set up a GoFundMe campaign, and 24 hours later it surpassed its $5,000 goal.

"It's touched so many people, for a young innocent child to die like that in our city," French tells Daily RFT. "We have a problem with violence in our city, and people are sick of it."

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ISIS Wants to Kill Twitter Co-Founder, St. Louis Native Jack Dorsey

Categories: News

A threat on the life of Jack Dorsey posted by supporters of the Islamic State.
As Twitter continues to shut down accounts belonging to supporters of the Islamic State, the terrorist group is fighting back by threatening to kill Twitter co-founder and St. Louis native Jack Dorsey.

A pro-ISIS group called on followers to target and kill Dorsey and Twitter employees in retaliation for the social-networking site shutting down accounts ISIS uses to communicate with and recruit new followers. The online threat, posted on the anonymous website Pastebin, is illustrated with a digitally altered image of Dorsey in the cross hairs of a gun.

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Ferguson and Jennings Sued for Throwing Poor People in Debtors' Prisons

Categories: Ferguson, News

Eric Fogleman
The ArchCity Defenders' Thomas Harvey (center) and other civil-rights attorneys are suing Ferguson and Jennings for jailing poor people.
Some call them America's debtors' prisons. Some call it the new Jim Crow. But for the poor of St. Louis' north county, the exploitative web of municipal courts and predatory police departments represent burdens of everyday life.

However, six months since a Ferguson cop shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown, little has been done to fundamentally reform court systems that many see as emblematic of the divide between north county's black communities and police. On Sunday, civil-rights lawyers took the fight directly to court by filing two lawsuits against Ferguson and nearby Jennings. They accuse the cities of violating the U.S. Constitution by jailing defendants without checking to see if they lack the ability to pay.

"The City's modern debtors' prison scheme has been increasingly profitable to the City of Ferguson, earning it millions of dollars over the past several years," reads one of the lawsuits, echoing the criticism that these municipal courts merely serve as money generators for flagging city budgets. "It has also devastated the City's poor, trapping them for years in a cycle of increased fees, debts, extortion, and cruel jailings."

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Charles Manson's St. Louis-Area Fiancée Is Marrying Him For His Corpse: Report

Charles Manson's booking photo.
Charles Manson's 27-year-old fiancée wants to marry the notorious mass murderer so she'll have legal claim to his body when he dies, according to the New York Post.

Manson's bride-to-be Afton Elaine Burton -- who goes by Star, the nickname Manson gave her -- wants to keep his body on display in a glass case and charge visitors to see it, says journalist Daniel Simone, who is looking to publish a book called The Retrial of Charles Manson.

Star grew up 40 miles north of St. Louis in Bunker Hill, Illinois, and moved to California as a teenager to be near Manson.

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Charles Manson Doesn't Wed St. Louis-Area Bride, Lets Marriage License Expire

What's the hold up, Charlie? Cold feet?
He's still single, ladies.

America's most infamous mass murderer Charles Manson and his wife-to-be, who grew up 40 miles north of St. Louis, missed their chance to get married this weekend. Their marriage license expires Thursday, but Corcoran State Prison, where 80-year-old Manson is serving a life sentence, doesn't allow inmate weddings on weekdays.

"A Manson wedding did not take place," a spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told the Los Angeles Times.

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