FBI Agent Who Works on Child Porn Task Force Charged with Choking 13-Year-Old Boy

Categories: Police

An FBI agent who works with the Boone County Sheriff's Department Cyber Crimes Task Force against child porn is charged with choking a thirteen-year-old boy unconscious.

Special agent Scott Armstrong, 37, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault charges during an arraignment in June and will appear in court on July 29.

According to the Callaway County police department, the incident occurred at Armstrong's residence at around midnight on March 1. In a probable cause statement, the thirteen-year-old claims Armstrong strangled him with a chokehold until "temporarily losing consciousness."

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Is the St. Louis Metro Police Department Hiding a Drug Task Force?

Categories: Drugs, Police

St. Louis Metro Police/Facebook
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department received $200,000 in grant funding for a drug task force that they say does not exist.

That might sound strange, but city officials tell Aaron Malin, a researcher for Show-Me Cannabis, the marijuana reform group, that they don't know about any so-called "drug task force." And that's despite several government records showing that grant money has been awarded to the non-existent drug task force and other records that tally the number of arrests the unit has made. These records were obtained by Malin via Missouri Sunshine requests.

Malin tells Daily RFT that he believes there can only be two explanations.

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Inspired by Edward Snowden, Lawmakers Want Missouri to Stand Against NSA Surveillance

Categories: Police, Politics

David Drexler/Wikimedia
The "Snowden effect" has hit the Show-Me State, and two state lawmakers hope the feds will take notice.

Sen. Rob Schaaf and Rep. Paul Curtman, both Republicans, have added a ballot to the August 5 primary that will allow Missourians to vote on whether the government shall be allowed to access their electronic communications without a search warrant.

The question on the ballot reflects a desire to modernize the language of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against certain searches and seizures in one's home, but not necessarily against one's digital footprint. Here's what voters will be asked:

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Missouri Drug Task Forces Seize a Lot of Money and Don't Keep Close Records Of Where it Goes

Categories: Crime, Drugs, Police

When drug task forces in Missouri confiscate money and valuables during narcotics investigations, they keep about 80 percent of what they seize through a federal asset forfeiture program. They are supposed to document what that money is used for, whether it's new equipment, overtime, or other expenses.

However, the form they fill out is vague and the drug task forces themselves say they aren't sure where much of the money goes without the help of accountants to figure it out.

According to Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force 2013 asset forfeiture report, which was obtained by Aaron Malin of Show-Me Cannabis through a Missouri Sunshine request, more than $141,000 out of $204,991 in seized assets spent by the task force was put in the "other" category.

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Asset Forfeiture Reform Activists Reignite Debate for Reform in Missouri

Categories: Crime, Police

When Missouri drug task forces seize assets they believed were used in a crime, state law says they have to give it to the state school fund. However, cops don't trust state lawmakers to use it for that purpose, so they bypass the rule and use a federal program to keep the money for themselves.

The remarks describe a process that has been well-known to property-rights activists for years (Daily RFTreported on it back in 2010), but they've nonetheless provided new fuel for those who aim to reform forfeiture laws, especially since the topic has received more attention in the national media lately. But first, check this out:

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Creve Coeur City Council Votes to Ban Protests On Median in Front of Monsanto Headquarters

Categories: Police, Politics

St. Louis County police arrest a protester in front of Monsanto headquarters in January.
Creve Coeur police chief Glenn Eidman is sick and tired of Monsanto protesters trying to hand out anti-Monsanto literature to people in parked cars in front of the seed giant's headquarters on Olive Boulevard, so he got the city council to pass an ordinance putting an end to that situation right away.

The Creve Coeur City Council unanimously passed the ordinance, which explicitly prohibits people from protesting on the medium. Protesters can still do their thing on the shoulder in front of Monsanto headquarters, but attempting to get attention from both sides of the road will be banned.

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Man Accurately Named "Tattoo" Shoots at Cop, Wins Settlement for Getting Shot by Cop

Categories: Crime, Police

Lincoln Police Department
Michael Knuth's nickname is "Tattoo."
In 2009 Michael Knuth, a.k.a. "Tattoo," probably because he has the word "Tattoo" tattooed across his forehead, went on a rampage in Lincoln, Illinois, beating, robbing and shooting at his neighbors, one of whom he knew for five years.

When the cops eventually located Knuth, officer Stuart Erlenbush saw he had a gun in his hand. The officer ordered him to put it down, but Knuth pointed it at the officer and a shot was fired, according to court documents. The officer then fired nine shots at Knuth, who survived. Knuth was sentenced to 45 years in prison for attempted murder of Erlenbush.

But in 2011 he sued, alleging excessive force. And on Tuesday, he was awarded a settlement.

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STL Cops to End World's Oldest Profession by Publicly Shaming Johns with Postcards

Categories: Crime, Police

Wikimedia/Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department
Nobody sends postcards anymore...except the police.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department wants to put an end to prostitution once and for all, darn it! And they're going to do it with the help of bright yellow postcards.

Captain Dan Howard of the SLMPD's 1st precinct says people in Carondelet and Holly Hills are sick and tired of prostitutes walking the streets, so he's going to put them out of business with a public-shaming campaign. People arrested for prostitution and solicitation will get a snarky postcard informing them of their court date.

Here's what the card says:

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St. Louis Cops Aren't Required to Have Training in Dealing with Mentally Ill People

Categories: Police, Politics

Police officers in the entire St. Louis metropolitan area might be expected to deal with mentally ill people on a daily basis, but they're not required to have any training about it.

Last week, when the Post-Dispatch published a story and video of St. Louis City police officers beating Mario Crump, a mentally ill man, most people felt sympathy for the man getting beat. But many also had empathy for the officers who had the difficult job of restraining a belligerent man whose own family had called the police on him.

There was also a lot of anger over the method the police officers used: Several hard baton swings and at least one swift punch on a man who was kicking at the officers while sitting in a chair. The image of two officers standing over and beating a man in a chair gave the impression that these St. Louis Metropolitan police officers did not know how to deal with a mentally ill person.

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Family of Man Shot to Death By St. Louis Police Say Cops Lied

Categories: Crime, Police

Stephon Averyhart
Did Stephon Averyhart really point a gun at two St. Louis police officers?

The St. Louis Police Department says he did -- and that's why they shot him to death.

But the 27-year-old's family says he was just running away because he was a constant target for traffic cops and, with a few traffic-ticket warrants on his record that he had trouble trying to pay, he took his chances and ran instead of getting yet another one.

Cops say he pulled a gun on them. Averyhart's family say that's absurd, given the car mechanic's nonviolent character and his unnecessary need to escalate things to that level. He's never been a violent criminal, they say. Just one with a bad driving record.

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