Category:Justice for All

Heather Taylor – #FiveYearsLater #STL2039

Community stories marking the five-year milestone after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. and the Ferguson uprising. Residents reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

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Joshua Jones – #FiveYearsLater #STL2039

Community stories marking the five-year milestone after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. and the Ferguson uprising. Residents reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

Tags Justice for AllOpportunity to ThriveBuilding Safe and Trauma-Informed Environments
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Ned – #FiveYearsLater #STL2039

Community stories marking the five-year milestone after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. and the Ferguson uprising. Residents reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

Tags Justice for AllYouth at the Center
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Lisa – #FiveYearsLater #STL2039

Community stories marking the five-year milestone after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. and the Ferguson uprising. Community members reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

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Ebony – #FiveYearsLater #STL2039

Community stories marking the five-year milestone after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. and the Ferguson uprising. Residents reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

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Rudy and Mary – #STL2039

Sharing the visions of St. Louis residents for a future St. Louis—in 2039—where Racial Equity is the reality and what they’re doing to achieve it today. #STL2039

Tags Justice for AllInfrastructureStrengthening Anti-Bias and Cultural CompetencyAligning Resources to Foster Innovation and Build CapacityBuilding a Racial Equity Infrastructure
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John and Jamala – #STL2039

Sharing the visions of St. Louis residents for a future St. Louis—in 2039—where Racial Equity is the reality and what they’re doing to achieve it today. #STL2039

Tags Justice for AllRacial EquityPolice ReformRestoring Civilian-Law Enforcement Relations Through Community PolicingBuilding a Racial Equity Infrastructure
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Kayla

The Finesse Center started because I didn’t really know what else to do. After my brother passed, one of my friends from Webster University was like, “Hey, I have someone that wants to donate money. Where should they donate?” I was like, “I don’t know. To the family?” And they said, “You know what? We’re…

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Blake

I was in my last year of law school when Mike Brown was killed on August 9th. I had just left home on my way back to school. I was already looking at public interest opportunities and social and racial justice opportunities. It’s fair to say that before that happened, I probably was not coming…

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Perri

One of the things that officers don’t like is when parents use police as a threat to small kids:“If you don’t behave, I’m going to call the police.” Please don’t do that. Don’t make us the bad guy. Some of us do a good enough job with that on our own. Some kids in…

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Rasheen

I was born and raised in St. Louis. Even when I travel out of town, I still miss home. Even with all the issues that have transpired over the years, with all the problems, I’m still happy to call it my home because I know it’s going to get better. During Ferguson, being out there…

Tags Youth at the Center
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The Best Way to Understand It Is to Experience It

In a four part series Josh Walehwa, who’s brother is a police officer, shares his experiences with law enforcement and vision for the future of St. Louis. Check back as additional parts of his story are released. Part 1 The Best Way to Understand It Is to Experience It – Investigatory Stops “We want the…

Tags Justice for AllRacial EquityPolice Reform
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Starsky

There are a lot of more usual suspects who could have co-chaired the Commission. It probably made a whole lot better sense to appoint somebody else. But God gave me an opportunity to translate what was going on in the street at the time into the Commission’s work and attempt to do so effectively to…

Tags Racial Equity
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Byron

Byron has a complex set of experiences from growing up in North St. Louis and experiencing racism, as well as decades of public service as a police officer. This dual perspective has given him a unique insight into how policing can be reformed.

Tags Justice for AllPolice Reform
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Increasing Awareness of Rights and Procedures

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:Individuals who receive a municipal citation or summons in many St. Louis County municipalities often are not provided with essential facts critical to navigating the judicial process. The procedures used in Ferguson, MO are an example of this problem:The…

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Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness Through Consolidation of Municipal Courts

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:The presiding judge of the 21st Circuit (which includes St. Louis County) is charged with oversight of 81 municipal courts – almost ten times the average number of municipal courts in other judicial circuits (Better Together, 2014). Jim Buford, former…

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Summary of Terms

Ability to Pay A borrower’s capacity to fully pay his loan obligations. Source:Businessdictionary.com, https://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/ability-to-pay-principle.html Associate Circuit Court A division of a Missouri State court, which can hear cases with amounts up to $25,000. This includes small claims cases. Source:Missouri Courts, https://www.courts.mo.gov/hosted/circuit13/other/definitions.htm Circuit Court A court in which trials occur. Within a circuit court,…

Tags Justice for AllSummary of Terms
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Expanding Civilian Oversight

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:In the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown, public perception of police legitimacy and effectiveness and trust in procedural justice have decreased as compared to before the shooting. Public estimates of frequency of misconduct have gone up (Kochel,…

Tags Justice for AllExpanding Civilian Oversight
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Encouraging Appropriate Use of Technology in Citizen-Law Enforcement Interactions

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) researched the police response to demonstrations that occurred after Michael Brown was killed in August 2014 and found that the use of military-grade weapons and vehicles was “inappropriate, inflamed tensions, and created fear among…

Tags Justice for AllEncouraging Appropriate Use of Technology in Citizen-Law Enforcement Interactions
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Conducting Just Use of Force Investigations

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:In the United States, immigrant communities and ethnic minorities often become disproportionate targets of the traditional crime control model that uses physical force (Simmons, 2010). New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) found that while Blacks comprised 23 percent…

Tags Justice for AllConducting Just Use of Force Investigations
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Authorizing Appropriate Use of Force

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:Following investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a report on March 4, 2015, which noted that Ferguson’s police sometimes violate citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights through the use of excessive force (DOJ, 2015). The…

Tags Justice for AllAuthorizing Appropriate Use of Force
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Improving Officer Training

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:In St. Louis City and the County, 75 percent of the police departments are unaccredited (Better Together, 2015). The State of Missouri does not require police departments to be accredited, perhaps explaining why in St. Louis City and County only…

Tags Justice for AllImproving Officer Training
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Promoting Officer Wellness

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:A study of an urban police department suggests that a police officer’s work environment, which includes exposure to potentially traumatic experiences, coupled with a police environment that values stoicism and self-reliance, can prove detrimental to an officer’s mental health (Fox,…

Tags Promoting Officer Wellness
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Restoring Relations Through Community Policing

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:According to the U.S. Department of Justice, community policing is defined as “a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety…

Tags Restoring Civilian-Law Enforcement Relations Through Community Policing
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Re-Envisioning Response to Demonstration

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:On September 3, 2015, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a thorough “After-Action Assessment of the Police Response,” detailing the 17 days following the shooting of Michael Brown (DOJ, 2015). In this investigation, four police departments (Ferguson, St….

Tags Justice for AllRe-Envisioning Law Enforcement Response to Demonstration
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Strengthening Anti-Bias and Cultural Competency

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:In 2014, a Gallup poll found that 60 percent of White Americans expressed more trust in police than nonwhites did (49 percent) (McCarthy, 2014). In 2014, Black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely than White drivers to be…

Tags Justice for AllStrengthening Anti-Bias and Cultural Competency
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Utilizing Community-Based Alternatives to Traditional Sentencing

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:Over the past few decades, there has been a rise in the number of “problem-solving” courts in the nation, which include community courts, drug courts, and domestic violence courts (Porter, 2010). One study defines “problem-solving courts” as courts that “seek…

Tags Justice for AllUtilizing Community-Based Alternatives to Traditional Sentencing
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Redefining Courts’ Response to Nonviolent Offenses

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson, a city of 21,135 people, issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations (Shapiro, 2014). Similarly, Pine Lawn, another municipality in St. Louis County, has a population of only 3,275 and,…

Tags Justice for AllRedefining the Municipal Court Response to Nonviolent Offenses
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Preventing Conflicts of Interest

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:In the current 21st Judicial Circuit municipal court system (which covers St. Louis County), attorneys often serve in multiple roles across multiple jurisdictions. According to data compiled in March 2015, 13 attorneys in St. Louis County have positions in three…

Tags Preventing Conflicts of Interest
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Facilitating Efficiency Through Consolidation of Police Departments

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:The St. Louis region is currently served by 60 police departments of varying sizes and service levels. The region’s 60 police departments range from large, full-service agencies to small municipal departments. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St….

Tags Justice for AllFacilitating Efficiency Through Consolidation
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Encouraging Efficiency and Transparency

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:Court barriers to transparency include:records that are closed, that never existed, or that disappeared; inefficient and costly processes for gaining access to public records, sometimes requiring days or weeks; private electronic databases to which interested citizens lack access; and…

Tags Justice for AllEncouraging Efficiency and Transparency Through Robust Administrative Standards and Record Keeping
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Protecting Rights and Effectively Administering Courts

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:According to a report on the municipal courts in the St. Louis region and community members’ experience within them, “family members were forced to wait outside courtrooms while loved-ones represent[ed] themselves in front of a judge and a prosecutor. Many…

Tags Justice for AllEnabling Employees' to Protect the Constitutional Rights of Residents and Effectively Administer Courts
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