Lawsuit: Black Employee of Cupcake Shop Fired After Reporting White Colleague's N-Bomb

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Racial tensions boiled up at a cupcake shop, according to a lawsuit
This a tale of cupcakes, hairnets, and the N-word.

Shayden Frazier, an African-American former employee of Jilly's Cupcake Bar & Cafe in University City, is suing the shop for allegedly firing him after he complained about a white colleague's use of a racial slur.

To start at the beginning: Frazier got hired in August 2013 and worked at Jilly's as a cashier and server.

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City Cop "Intentionally and Violently Grabbed and Pulled" Man's Genitalia, Suit Says

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Man says a cop grabbed his genitalia
A Hyde Park resident is suing a city police officer who he claims "intentionally and violently grabbed and pulled" on his genitalia, "causing physical injury."

Larmore Maclin, of the 3400 block of North 14th Street, filed his suit Wednesday in 22nd Circuit Court.

He claims the trouble started on April 10, when he went to the Imo's Pizza on Washington Avenue. Two officers already inside the restaurant "harrassed" him "without provocation," followed him outside, searched him, and let him go.

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Sarcastic Facebook Comment Led to Man's Arrest, Lawsuit Claims

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It turns out that jokes about school shootings freak people out. Shocker.
On January 25, James Robert Ross, a 20-year-old convenience store clerk in Jackson, Missouri, left a bitterly sarcastic comment on a Facebook post titled "Why I need a gun."

That comment would come back to bite Ross in the ass.

We haven't been able to find the original Facebook post ourselves, but according to a federal lawsuit filed on Ross' behalf last week, it included an image of an AK 47 assault rifle. The caption read: "This one is for self-defense against enemies, foreign & domestic, for preservation of freedom & liberty, and to prevent government atrocities."

Ross, who's described in the suit as a "gun-control advocate," commented on the post:

"Which one do I need to shoot up a kindergarten?"

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St. Louis Lawyer Fighting to Reinstate Troll King Charles Johnson on Twitter

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Charles C. Johnson, heir apparent to the title of Most Hated Man on the Internet.
Has St. Louis' own John Burns grown up since his Tea Partying activist days? Yes and no.

Back in 2010, Burns was best known as the leader of a campaign opposing a MetroLink tax hike. He also took on roles organizing a disruption of an LGBT rally, staging a "campus gulag" at Washington University and assisting right-wing prankster James O'Keefe in a plot to "seduce" a CNN reporter.

Nowadays, rather than meddling in Tea Party politics or engineering ill-intentioned pranks, Burns is a lawyer -- but he hasn't exactly gone to the boring, corporate side of the law. In fact, he's currently representing none other than Charles C. Johnson, the widely reviled blogger who late last month was banned from Twitter after soliciting funds to be used for "taking out" Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson.

In response, Mckesson said that he took Johnson's tweet as a "serious threat."

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St. Louis County SWAT Team Killed Family Dog Over Code Violation, Suit Says

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A St. Louis County woman claims a police tactical unit killed her dog while investigating whether her home had natural gas.
On Tuesday, a South County woman filed a federal lawsuit that dog lovers should read with caution -- the allegations are pretty disturbing.

In the lawsuit, Angela Zorich claims that St. Louis County Police tactical officers -- aka the department's SWAT team -- raided her house in April 2014 and killed Kiya, her four-year-old pit bull.

Update: See the police version of the incident, as detailed in its incident report.

The reason for the raid: to check if her home had electricity and natural gas service.

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Pastor Drops Lawsuit Against First Christian Church of Florissant Whistleblowers

Brandon Milburn preyed on children at First Christian Church of Florissant.
The senior pastor of a North County St. Louis megachurch has dropped his lawsuit against the four former congregants who publicly criticized him in the aftermath of serial child molester Brandon Milburn's 2014 arrest.

As described in a Riverfront Times investigation published last week, Milburn worked at First Christian Church of Florissant, or FCCF, as a paid intern and volunteer youth minister at various times from 2005 to 2012. County prosecutors charged Milburn last year with seven counts of statutory sodomy.

The charges came after two men accused Milburn of abusing them numerous times between 2007 and 2009. Both victims met Milburn through their family's ties to the church. Both were eleven years old when Milburn began molesting them.

However, questions arose about what FCCF senior pastor Steve Wingfield knew about Milburn back in 2012. A publicly disseminated "case study" written by an FCCF Sunday School teacher accused Wingfield of ignoring multiple warnings about Milburn's behavior around young boys and teens; in response, Wingfield sued the case study's author, as well as three other former FCCF members, for defamation.

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Dorian Johnson, Witness to Michael Brown Shooting, Sues Ferguson and Darren Wilson

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Dorian Johnson in one of his first TV interviews.

Dorian Johnson, the man who was walking with Michael Brown just before his fatal encounter with former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, is suing the City of Ferguson, Wilson and former police chief Thomas Jackson.

The documents, first obtained by the Post-Dispatch, claim that "without any provocation by Plaintiff Johnson and without any legal justification, Officer Wilson withdrew his weapon and fired it at Plaintiff Johnson and Michael Brown, Jr. as they fled and ran away from him, striking Brown several more times."

"The purpose of this lawsuit is to bring Darren Wilson to justice," says James Williams, Johnson's attorney. "Dorian Johnson was very courageous, as was the Brown family, for not letting this go."

Williams also revealed that while Johnson is currently still in the St. Louis area and that he will soon enroll at a four-year university to complete his bachelor's degree. Williams would not name the institution but said it is not in Missouri.

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ACLU Sues City of Pine Lawn for Police Corruption and Harassment

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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St. Louis Parking Ticket Policy Is a Racket, Class-Action Suit Alleges

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Pissed about a parking ticket? Former St. Louis City Counselor Eric Banks has filed a class-action lawsuit against the city in circuit court, challenging its parking enforcement practices as a violation of constitutional rights. The suit seeks to represent anyone who received a citation for parking at an expired meter -- and was found liable after enduring the city's administrative hearing process.

Those hearings are the main issue in Banks' lawsuit. As the attorney describes it, he arrived for a hearing after getting a parking ticket he was convinced was unfair -- only to be told by the hearing officer that, unless he had evidence that the parking meter in question was broken at the time of citation, the officer would rule against him.

Then the officer did just that, even though the city hadn't bothered to send anyone to testify on its behalf, and even though Banks believed he'd identified procedural errors. The burden was entirely on Banks.

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Four Journalists Sue St. Louis County Police Over Arrests, Injuries During Ferguson

Danny Wicentowski
The night of the arrests in Ferguson.

Four journalists are suing the St. Louis County Police Department in federal court over their August 2014 arrests in Ferguson, claiming that their First Amendment right to freedom of the press was violated.

The plaintiffs are Ryan Devereaux, a staff writer at the Intercept; Lukas Hermsmeier, a freelancer reporting for Germany's BILD newspaper; Frank Herrmann, a U.S. correspondent for a group of German newspapers; and Ansgar Graw, senior political U.S. correspondent for Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag. All four were arrested in the early hours of August 19, 2014, ten days after the shooting of Michael Brown. At the time, tensions were still high as protesters came out nightly to West Florissant Avenue, and police were using tear gas and rubber bullets.

"I was really taken aback by the way that protesters and the media were handled from the moment I got there, by the police," recalls Devereaux, who is based in New York City. "I felt that in many circumstances the police were behaving irresponsibly, and at times dangerously, toward media and protesters alike."

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