Moline Acres Police Start Giving Out "Cop Cards," Like Baseball Cards for Cops

Categories: Police

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NLEC
Next time Officer Adam Stevens pulls you over, ask for his card.
Gotta catch 'em all.

Moline Acres police will announce at a press conference today that officers will start carrying "cop cards," which resemble baseball cards, in a new effort to improve relationships between police and the community, especially with young people.

Reverend Larry Rice, who runs the New Life Evangelistic Center, says he pitched the idea to local police departments after hearing about a similar program in Vancouver. Moline Acres is the first city to take him up on the idea.

"The biggest problem we have in this area is the big gap that exists between police and youth, particularly African American youth," Rice tells Daily RFT. Especially after last year's unrest in Ferguson, Rice says, the St. Louis area needs a creative way to connect youth and police. "We've got to do things differently than what we are doing right now. We've become infamous around the world, and we continue to do things in a bad way."

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St. Louis Cop Turns Off Dash Camera After Suspect is Kicked and Tasered [VIDEO]

Categories: Police

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Post-Dispatch, Fox 2
St. Louis cops beat a man during a traffic stop in April -- but they didn't want the camera on.
"Hold up. Hold up, y'all. Hold up. Hold up, everybody, hold up. We're red right now, so if you guys are worried about cameras, just wait."

Those are the last audible words captured by a police dash camera before the footage goes silent. Eight seconds later, the entire feed goes dark.

Taken during an April traffic stop, the video is now at the center of an excessive-force lawsuit filed last month against four St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers. Not only that, but the officer who warned her fellow cops that they were "red right now" -- that is, a camera was recording their actions -- may soon face disciplinary action for compromising police evidence.

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Mom Searches for Witnesses Who Saw SLMPD Shoot Stephon Averyhart

Categories: Police

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Danny Wicentowski
Stacey Hill, the mother of Stephon Averyhart, handed out flyers Thursday in the area where her son was shot and killed by two St. Louis metro cops last year.
After he died, there were no protests for Stephon Averyhart.

Shot by two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers on February 12, 2014, the death of the 27-year-old mechanic made a slight blip on local news outlets, and those reports relied on a police press release to describe Averyhart's final moments -- how he fled a traffic stop, led police on a brief chase, crashed his blue 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix into a telephone pole, ran down an alley and was shot dead. The two officers who chased after Averyhart claimed he pointed a gun at them.

On Thursday, the one-year anniversary of his death, Averyhart's mother Stacey Hill and a handful of his friends gathered at a parking lot on the corner of West Florrisant Avenue and Union Boulevard, right across the street from the imposing sprawl of Calvary Cemetery. Hill chose the location intentionally, knowing that her son's friends still try to avoid area where Averyhart died, just a few blocks away.

"I went there the day they killed my son," says Hill, clutching a stack of flyers printed with Averyhart's face one side and information about the shooting on the back. "I don't have a problem going up there."

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Ferguson Police Train With Gun Attachment That Shoots Bullet-Powered Steel Ball

Categories: Ferguson, Police

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Alternative Ballistics
Don't let it's cute nickname, the "Bozo Round," fool you. This pistol attachment will mess you up.
With its bright orange frame, the "Alternative" almost makes a pistol look like a toy. But the invention, which has never been field-tested, could offer police departments just the tool they've been looking for, the kind of weapon that exists in the gray area between lethal and non-lethal force.

"It's not a beanbag and it's not a taser," says Christian Ellis, chief executive of California--based Alternative Ballistics, which produces the pistol attachment. "I love those products and they have great applications, but they're designed for less than lethal situations. This is designed for a lethal situation."

This week, a few select Ferguson officers began training with the weapon some have dubbed the "Bozo Round" after the orange ping-pong-ball sized projectile that (sort of) resembles clown's nose. Placed over the muzzle of the handgun, the apparatus is designed to capture a just fired bullet and use its energy to send the metal-alloy sphere rocketing toward a target at 250 feet per second.

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ACLU: Bills Restricting Police Body Cam Footage Will Hobble Missouri Sunshine Law

Categories: Police, Politics

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Danny Wicentowski
Some Ferguson officers began wearing body cameras in September, and more departments are embracing the new technology.
Not long after the fatal August 9 confrontation between Michael Brown and then-Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, protesters, along with the wider public, began demanding Missouri police wear body cameras. Advocates claimed the cameras would keep cops accountable, and the calls only grew louder after Wilson's non-indictment in November.

Now, nearly six months after Brown's death, Missouri lawmakers have turned those demands into several proposed bills. At the same time, the introduction of new technology has raised concerns about the cameras' impact on privacy and police procedure.

"It's a good tool, and any time you add a different evidence stream it needs to be protected," says Republican Representative Galen Higdon. Last week, he proposed a bill that would make footage from police body cameras and dash cameras "inaccessible to the general public."

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Police Block Public From Drug Task Force Meeting [VIDEO]

Categories: Police

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NCA via Flickr
Drug busts? The Missouri East Central Drug Task Force likes the sound of that. But open meetings? That's a different story.
In a perfect world, Missouri's Sunshine Law would work as advertised. Passed in 1973, the statute seeks to open windows for media and public alike, allowing everyone to peer into the tax-funded inner workings of governmental process.

But despite our love for Missouri Revised Statutes Section 610.010, the Sunshine Law can become mired, blocked or disputed. For instance, on January 29 two members of the pro-pot group Show-Me Cannabis showed up at the Audrain County Sheriff Office, about 40 minutes northeast of Columbia, hoping to attend a board meeting of the East Central Drug Task Force.

Instead, they were barred from the meeting and ordered to leave. The command wasn't entirely shocking to Show-Me Cannabis director of research Aaron Malin, who filmed his attempt to gain entry to the task force's meeting. Malin has raised several Sunshine Law disputes with Missouri drug task forces in the past, and he says he's increasingly frustrated by these groups' tenacious refusal to provide records and open meetings.

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St. Louis County Police Apologize for Offensive Facebook Post About Tamir Rice

Categories: Ferguson, Police

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Lindsay Toler
Both County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the Fenton precinct's Facebook post was "offensive."
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar called an officer's post on the Fenton precinct's Facebook page "misguided" and "offensive" after its victim-blaming message sparked outrage.

The post used the death of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by police in Ohio while holding a replica gun, to instruct parents on how to set rules for children when it comes to toy weapons. The now-deleted Facebook diatribe says parents should "know how officers are trained" and warns them that police will respond to a child's toy gun "as though it is a real gun" until they know otherwise.

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Mayor Slay: St. Louis Will Hire 160 New Police Officers

Categories: Police

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via St. Louis city
Alderwoman Phyllis Young, public safety committee chair Richard Gray, public safety director Adolphus Pruitt, Mayor Francis Slay and Sgt. Darren Wilson, president of the Ethical Society of Police.
St. Louis will hire 160 new police officers over the next two years with a special focus on recruiting from the black community, says Mayor Francis Slay.

Citing "the Ferguson effect" and two recent violent crimes -- a Bosnian man killed by hammer-wielding teens in Bevo Mill and a shooting at a south-city bar that injured six -- Slay says St. Louis' increasing crime rate means its time to add more officers to the force. Since August, the city has seen a 6 percent increase in crimes against persons, and there have already been eighteen more homicides this year than there were in 2013.

"This is something that is very disturbing to me," Slay tells Daily RFT. "These are very senseless crimes. The fact is that we need to make sure the cops have the resources and the manpower necessary to deal with this."

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There's a St. Louis County Police Parody Twitter Account

Categories: Police

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Ray Downs
No, the St. Louis County Police are not the ones sending those tweets you've been seeing.
Been seeing tweets from the St. Louis County Police Department that were a little too honest lately?

Well, they're not really from the police. Some comic genius launched a parody account for the county police this week, using the handle @sticountypd. (Capitalize that "i," and it's almost impossible to tell the two accounts apart. Almost.)

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Protesters Clash with Police, Burn Flags, Damage Business near Shaw Shooting Site

Categories: Ferguson, Police

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Ray Downs
Police wore riot gear and used tear gas early Friday morning, like the officers in Ferguson during West Florissant Avenue protests.
Protesters lashed out at police on South Grand Boulevard Thursday night, injuring an officer and breaking windows near the site where an off-duty St. Louis police officer fatally shot eighteen-year-old Vonderrit D. Myers Jr. the night before.

Eight protesters were arrested after police broke up the protest around 1 a.m. with pepper spray, police said Friday morning. Five people were arrested for unlawful assembly, two for property damage and one for marijuana possession.


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