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(Ferguson) (AP) – St. Louis County police say 51 people were arrested from mid-day Tuesday through early Wednesday in Ferguson – all but one of them from out of town.
Information released Wednesday shows that most of those arrested were cited for refusal to disperse, but a few face weapons charges, disorderly conduct or possession of burglary tools charges. Two men are charged with assaulting a police officer.
Many of those arrested are from nearby communities, but just one woman lists a Ferguson address.
Ferguson has been on edge since the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a city police officer. Hundreds of protesters are crowding West Florissant Avenue every night, resulting in some clashes with police.
(St. Louis) (AP) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is meeting with the parents of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old fatally shot by a police officer.
Holder was meeting with them Wednesday evening in the U.S. attorney’s office in downtown St. Louis. He also planned to meet with Missouri’s congressional delegation.
The attorney general flew to Missouri Wednesday morning and made several visits around the area, including to a community college and a restaurant in Ferguson near where Brown was shot on Aug. 9.
Holder has pledged experience federal officials will independently investigate whether there were any civil rights violations connected to Brown’s death. Brown was black and the officer who shot him is white.
(Ferguson) (AP) – A police officer who was part of the effort to keep peace during protests in Ferguson has been suspended for pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at demonstrators, then cursing and threatening to kill one of them, police said Wednesday.
A protester captured the exchange on video that has been posted to YouTube and several websites. It happened Tuesday night during the latest of several protests that have followed the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.
On the video, a man is heard saying, “Oh my God! Gun raised!” as the officer approaches. The identity of the man who shot the video is not known.
“My hands are up, bro! My hands are up!” the man said.
The officer walks near the man with his gun pointed and appears to say, “I will (expletive) kill you.”
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said the officer is with the police department in St. Ann, another St. Louis County town near Ferguson. His name hasn’t been released. Messages seeking comment from St. Ann’s police chief were not returned.
Schellman said a county police sergeant took immediate action, telling the officer to lower the weapon and escorting him from the area. The officer was suspended indefinitely.
(St. Louis) (AP) – The mother and wife of a man killed by a Ferguson officer in 2011 have filed separate lawsuits with new allegations against a police department already under criticism for the death of Michael Brown.
Jason Moore died of a heart attack on Sept. 17, 2011, after a Ferguson officer repeatedly used a stun gun on him, according to lawsuits filed separately Tuesday by Moore’s mother, Delores Moore, and his wife, Tina Moore. Both lawsuits, which name the city and Ferguson leaders, along with the police department, the chief and two officers, seek damages of $75,000 or more.
The suits filed in federal court say Jason Moore, 31, was suffering from a psychological disorder. Police were called after he ran naked down the street, yelling “God is good,” “glory to God” and “I am Jesus” at passing vehicles.
Both lawsuits claim that a police officer used excessive force by repeatedly using a stun gun on Moore. A message left with the attorney for Ferguson was not returned. An attorney for Tina Moore declined comment. A message seeking comment from Delores Moore’s attorney was not returned.
The lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Brown was shot to death by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, raising concerns about police brutality in the St. Louis suburb.
A police report shows that the first officer responding to the 2011 incident advised Moore to put up his hands and walk toward the officer. That officer’s report said the man came at him aggressively and refused commands to stop, swinging his fists.
The officer said he used a five-second burst from the stun gun on Moore, who went down but tried to get up. He said he deployed two additional five-second bursts when Moore refused orders to stay on the ground.
Moore became unresponsive as a second officer tried to speak with him. That officer began chest compressions until a medical crew arrived and took Moore to a hospital, where he died.
The lawsuit said the officer “used more force than a reasonable police officer at the scene would have used under the circumstances.” It said that if the officers should have treated Moore like a mentally ill person, not like a criminal.
The suit by Tina Moore accused police of conspiring “to cover for and protect one another from criminal and/or civil sanctions …”
(Jefferson City) (AP) – A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to illegally trafficking caviar from paddlefish that were caught in western Missouri.
The U.S. attorney’s office says 49-year-old Felix Baravik, of Aurora, Colorado, entered the guilty plea Tuesday.
A pregnant paddlefish can have about 20 pounds of eggs and those eggs can be sold for as much as $35 an ounce.
Paddlefish can be legally fished in Missouri, but the daily catch limit is two. Missouri law prohibits the transportation of paddlefish eggs that have been removed from a paddlefish carcass and also outlaws their sale, purchase, or the offer of sale or purchase of paddlefish eggs.
Under the terms of Baravik’s plea agreement, the government agreed to recommend a sentence of three years of probation and a $5,000 fine.
(Little Rock) (AP) – U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is reaching into his own medical history to explain his vote on the nation’s new health care law, telling Arkansans that his battle with a rare cancer 18 years ago influenced his vote.
The Democrat, who is in a tough re-election battle, fought a clear-cell sarcoma discovered after an ankle injury. He had five weeks of chemotherapy and a 13-hour surgery.
In a 30-second advertisement, Pryor says the experience helped him back a law that prevents insurers from canceling policies if someone gets sick or denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. He does not mention the Affordable Care Act by name.
The campaign of his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, said “Obamacare” isn’t needed and has harmed the middle class and small businesses.
(Little Rock) (AP) – The Arkansas lottery is to close three regional claim centers in a move that will make an extra $381,000 available for college scholarships. Six jobs will be lost.
The Arkansas Lottery Commission voted Wednesday to close the centers.
Each of the centers employs two people. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley says the workers would be able to seek other employment within the agency.
A center in Springdale will close Oct. 1, and centers in Camden and Jonesboro will close Nov. 30. Each closure is set for when the centers’ leases expire.
The lottery has watched revenues fall for two straight years and is under pressure to raise more money for scholarships.
(West Plains) – The City of West Plains has announced George Buehler will be the new Assistant Police Chief.
Buehler began working for the department as a reserve officer in 1990, and started full-time as public safety officer in 1991. In 1997 he was assigned to detective and has been an active detective for the department since then.
As assistant chief his primary duties will be supervising the investigation unit, reviewing all police reports for the department, will assist the police chief, will work with grants and other daily duties with the department.
Buehler graduated from Thayer High School in 1985 and was part of the United States Army from 1985-1988. He has lived in West Plains since 1989 with his wife, Jenny and three sons, Junior, Dereck and Casey.
(Ferguson) (AP) – Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke.
The St. Louis suburb still had plenty of lively protest Tuesday over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. And tensions rose briefly when someone hurled a bottle at officers. But the overall scene was more subdued than the past five nights, with smaller crowds, fewer confrontations and no tear gas. Police said they still made 47 arrests, mainly of people who defied orders to disperse.
The slight easing of tensions came the day before Attorney General Eric Holder was to visit Ferguson to meet with FBI and other officials carrying out an independent federal investigation into Brown’s death.
A grand jury also could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether the officer, Darren Wilson, should be charged in Brown’s death.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that he would not seek the removal of the prosecutor overseeing the investigation into Brown’s death. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s deep family connections to police have been cited by some black leaders who question his ability to be impartial. McCulloch’s father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.
Nixon said he would not ask McCulloch to leave the case, citing the “well-established process” by which prosecutors can recuse themselves from pending investigations to make way for a special prosecutor
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, said the 18-year-old’s funeral and memorial service would be Monday.
(Willow Springs) – Troop G in Willow Springs will once again be participating in the Labor Day weekend enforcement operations.
Throughout the holiday weekend, troopers within Troop G and throughout the state will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). In addition to Operation C.A.R.E., Troop G will also participate in the statewide 20-Mile Trooper project during the peak travel periods on Friday, August 29, and Monday, September 1. During this operation, troopers will be assigned to 20-mile stretches of U.S. Highway 60. Enforcement efforts on secondary roads will be conducted during the same timeframe within Troop G. Over the entire holiday weekend, troopers will be vigorously enforcing all traffic laws and helping motorists in need of assistance.
Patrol officials encourage motorists to protect themselves and their passengers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Watercraft operators should ensure that everyone in the vessel is wearing an approved life jacket.