St. Louis mayor wants to scrap police chief search because only qualified candidates so far are white

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The editorial comments in this are brought to you by a former chief of police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

ST. LOUIS, MO- Imagine if you will the blowback there would be if the mayor of a major American city said they wanted to scrap a search for a position such as police chief because there were too many black applicants.  

Well apparently in St. Louis, racist mayor Tishaura Jones decided the finalists for the city’s police chief were too white, the St. Louis American reports.

Tuesday, Jones confirmed she wants to deep six the current search after the former personnel officer Rick Frank had decided the new leader of the department would be chosen by his department.

This was apparently a change in process from before. The current police chief, John Hayden was selected through a process involving an outside consultant.

For Jones however, it isn’t so much about the process but more about the results.

“I only had two white male candidates to choose from and St. Louis is more diverse than white males, our police department is more diverse—there were a lot of diverse candidates within the police department who were kicked out of the first round so I want to start over to find the right candidate,” Jones said.

One look at Jones’s appointments when she was named mayor last April pretty much indicates who she is looking for.

Her three appointments to key positions in her administration—senior adviser to the director of public safety, interim public safety director, and treasurer—were all black. Jones is also black.

According to sources within the Jones administration, the personnel department was reported to have rejected 30 candidates from a nationwide pool who applied for the position and only administered a written test to two internal candidates, both of whom were white.

A virtual version of the exam was not offered to the other four candidates, who were from out-of-state.

“There were flays in the current process and we promised the community an open and transparent process, and this is not that,” Jones said.

 Jones continued that she wants to restart the process after she finds an interim personnel director, however, did not explain further.

Jones’s decision comes as an assistant police chief for the agency, Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole is suing the city and police department, claiming he was passed over for the position eventually given to Hayden because of his race.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, O’Toole had been told by former public safety director Jimmie Edwards that he was passed over because of an incident involving former city police officer Jason Stockley, who was charged with murder following a shooting after a police chase in 2011.

Stockley shot and killed the driver, Anthony Lamar Smith after the chase.

In 2017, O’Toole was appointed as interim police chief after the sudden retirement of the former chief, Sam Dotson who retired suddenly in April 2017.

Stockley was found not guilty on Sept 15, 2017 after a trial judge ruled Stockley had likely acted in self-defense and noted the state had failed to prove he had not acted in such a manner.

After the not guilty verdict, on cue protests began to take place in the city, which led to the Sept. 17, 2017, arrests of a number of people, including protesters, bystanders, journalists, and local residents.

Officers were accused of beating and deploying pepper spray against people who were on the ground and complying with officers’ orders.

In addition on that same night, black St. Louis police officer Luther Hall, working protest duty while undercover, was beaten by several police officers. A total of five were indicted, with two already having pleaded guilty to charges coming out of the assault, and also lying to the FBI.

The police chief opened just about a month after the protests, and closed that October. Former Mayor Lyda Krewson appointed a citizen’s advisory board to assist with the selection process. O’Toole claims the board was hostile toward him, and that the public meetings were set up to embarrass him.

Hayden, who is black, ended up getting promoted as a result of the process. O’Toole also claims he was  passed over for a $6,000 pay increase from something called a Proposition P sales tax, which he included in his lawsuit.

 Hayden announced his retirement last September, which will be effective Feb. 23.

St. Louis, like a number of big cities run by Democrats has been dealing with a spike in crime, with St. Louis reaching a record-breaking homicide rate in 2020.

He also dealt with the incident involving Hall, a police officer who was shot and killed by a fellow officer while he was on duty in January 2019 and of course the protests in the summer of 2020 related to the Floyd death in Minneapolis.

Hayden’s decision to retire came less than two weeks after St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton resigned after 16 months of addressing allegations of a racist culture within the St. Louis PD.

Jones has suggested she and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page conduct simultaneous searches to fill their respective chief positions.

Two men arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a Chicago cop after shooting him during a traffic stop

For more on St. Louis and their record homicide rate, we invite you to read our prior report:

DIG DEEPER

ST. LOUIS, MO– The FBI recently released its 2020 U.S. crime rate figures, and the numbers show that homicides in the country rose nearly 30% in just one year. St. Louis City reportedly has the highest murder rate out of cities in the U.S., according to the report.  

St. Louis City had 263 homicides in 2020 with a homicide rate of 87 per 100,000 people.

The city’s homicide rates in 2020 hit second place, a 50-year high, only narrowly missing the all-time high record of 267 total homicides set back in 1993. 

As Law Enforcement Today recently reported, in 2020, there were more than 21,000 murders recorded, up 4,901 from the previous year and the highest number since the 1960s.

According to FBI statistics, overall violent crime, which includes murders, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, rose by 5.6% while property crimes decreased by almost 8%.

The FBI based their findings off of information that they received from almost 16,000 out of the 18,000 state and local law enforcement organizations throughout the country.

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri- St. Louis, points out that while the homicide and violent crime rate are up, those crimes are rare. He stressed it is important to note the rate of other, more common crimes dropped, FOX2Now reported.

According to the FBI’s data, non-violent crimes such as property crimes, continued to fall nationally, dropping in St. Louis as well, with a 6.3% decrease.

Fox2Now reported that Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri- St. Louis, says Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, and St. Louis are often the cities with the highest homicide rates in a year.

According to the latest FBI data in the Crime Data Explorer system, St. Louis has the highest murder rate among those cities. The New York Times also reported St. Louis had the highest murder rate in the country.

City Murders in 2020 Population in 2020 Murder Rate in 2020
Baltimore 299* 585,708 51/100,000 people
Detroit 328 639,111 51/100,000 people
New Orleans 201 383,997 52/100,000 people
St. Louis 263 301,578 87/100,000 people
Data according to FBI Crime Data Explore database and U.S. Census Bureau
*Other reports state Baltimore City had 335 homicides with a murder rate of 57/100,000

As you may recall, St. Louis was one of the major cities calling for the defunding of police, so it comes as no surprise that even with homicide rates being so high in the city, the mayor, Mayor Tishaura Jones, feels as though creating a larger police presence in the downtown area is not the answer to address concerns over violent crime.

Several other cities that pushed to defund their police departments, such as Detroit, also have a high violent crime rate according to the FBI’s figures.  

The Detroit News calculated the following data when it comes to the most violent crime rates in the U.S.:

City Number of Violent Crimes in 2020 Rate per 100,000 people
Memphis, TN 15,310 2,418
Detroit, MI 14,370 2,248
St. Louis 6,017 1,995
Little Rock, AR 3,657 1,805.11
South Bend, IN 1,765 1,706
Cleveland 6,281 1,685
Milwaukee 9,407 1,629
Kansas City, MO 7,919 1,558
Lansing, MI 1,699 1,508
Springfield, MO 2,545 1,504

One may wonder how St. Louis will address their violent crime issue considering the Mayor does not feel police are necessary.

Mayor Jones said that in order to address crime in the city, it would require community members, local nonprofits and corporations to also join the discussion and bring forth suggestions that can positively impact the community.

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LET Unity

St. Louis mayor, who defunded the police, now claims additional police won’t stop skyrocketing violence

September 11, 2021

ST LOUIS, MO – In response to a recent report from Fox 2 Now detailing violence impacting the downtown area of the city, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones claimed that creating a larger police presence in the downtown area is not the answer to address concerns over violent crime.

On September 8th, Fox 2 Now produced a report that detailed how violent crowds of teens reportedly flooded Kiener Plaza over the preceding weekend and shot out windows of a nearby high rise.

In response to the report, Mayor Jones called the actions “upsetting” but that focusing on one area of St. Louis with an increased police presence isn’t the solution:

“It’s absolutely upsetting…We can’t just focus on one area.”

Mayor Jones delved into an anecdotal experience regarding her time residing in the northern portion of St. Louis, explaining that crime impacts all of the city and not just certain pockets:

“When I moved back to north St. Louis and my son was 9-years-old playing outside, and someone was driving down the street shooting up in the air, so crime happens in a lot of areas and I’m not trying to discount what’s happening downtown, but we have to take care of all of our citizens.”

Alderman Jack Coatar noted that downtown business owners are getting concerned over the rampant crime and are considering packing up shop and taking their businesses elsewhere. Coatar says that such a scenario would present risks for the local tax base.

Mayor Jones pushed back on that notion, saying that all of St. Louis is representative of the city’s tax base:

“The entire city is our tax base. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can protect downtown as well as protect other neighborhoods who are experiencing crime on a daily basis.”

The mayor voiced concerns of what kind of message would the local government be sending by adding a larger police presence to downtown St. Louis, possibly signaling to residents elsewhere in the city that they may be vulnerable to crime as well:

“Because when you have increased presence downtown, you send a signal to other areas that they are also vulnerable.”

Reports show that much of the violence downtown is linked to younger individuals. When Mayor Jones was asked about the possibility of entertaining a curfew, she gave the following response:

“You know, curfews are sometimes dangerous. I’d like to see what other opportunities we are offering for young people to do something productive with their time.

We have wonderful nonprofits, the Boys and Girls Club, Urban League, United Way, the YMCAs, rec centers. We already have the infrastructure. We just need to use it differently.”

Mayor Jones said that in order to address crime in the city, it would require community members , local nonprofits and corporations to also join the discussion and bring forth suggestions that  can positively impact the community.

St. Louis prosecutor quits after her signature used on court docs while she was on maternity leave

(Originally published July 24th, 2021)

ST LOUIS, MO – According to reports, St. Louis’ lead homicide prosecutor resigned from her position earlier in July after her digital signature was found on several court documents after she went on maternity leave back in May.

Prosecutor Kim Arshi reportedly began her maternity leave on May 10th, yet her electronic signature has appeared on over 20 cases after her leave began in various court documents that listed her as the lead prosecutor.

On July 20th, Arshi reportedly resigned, but hasn’t publicly commented on the matter, nor has St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office.

One of the cases that Arshi was listed as the lead prosecutor – while she was on maternity leave – resulted in St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser dismissing a murder case against a defendant identified as Brandon Campbell.

The reason being, according to reports, was because prosecutors from Gardner’s office failed to appear at multiple hearings related to the case. In that case, Campbell was accused of fatally shooting Randy Moore back in April of 2020.

Since the case was dismissed against Campbell, he was released from custody. While Gardner’s office reportedly re-filed the murder case against Campbell, he’s currently at-large.

Judge Sengheiser had zero quarrels laying the blame on Gardner’s office, saying that had she had her proverbial house in order, Campbell wouldn’t have been released:

“The Circuit Attorney’s Office is ultimately the party responsible for protecting public safety by charging and then prosecuting those it believes commit crimes.”

“In a case like this where the Circuit Attorney’s office has essentially abandoned its duty to prosecute those it charges with crimes, the court must impartially enforce the law and any resultant threat to public safety is the responsibility of the Circuit Attorney’s Office.”

Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner did issue a statement regarding Campbell’s release due to her office’s inability to send prosecutors that aren’t on leave to scheduled hearings, blaming the incident on “internal policies and procedures regarding family medical leave” and that “corrective measures are needed to further prevent any future repeat occurrence of the incident in question.”

Court records show that Gardner’s office assigned Campbell’s case to Arshi on May 17th, a week after she’d already been on maternity leave.

While Gardner says that she’s “accountable to the public for the actions of the office”, she has yet to elaborate on what exact “internal policies and procedures” could possibly result in an assistant prosecutor on leave being assigned nearly 30 criminal cases while she’s not in office.

The victim’s mother in Campbell’s case, who didn’t want to be identified for fear that her son’s alleged killer will target her, said that Gardner’s mishandling of the case is “miserable”:

“It’s miserable. I feel like it just happened yesterday, just pain, just coming back. To think about somebody who took your son’s life and he’s out of jail. That’s horrifying. We’re living in fear.”

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