The 19-year-old gunman who opened fire at a St. Louis high school on Monday, identified as Orlando Harris, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and what appeared to be more than 600 rounds of ammunition. All of it legal in the Show Me state. Continue reading “St. Louis School Shooter Had AR-15-Style Rifle, 600 Rounds Of Ammo”
Donald Trump is reportedly getting involved in the case of a wealthy St. Louis couple who threatened Black Lives Matters protesters with guns outside their St. Louis mansion.
From Business Insider:
The couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, are under review for criminal charges, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said Tuesday, adding that the police had filed for warrants in the case.
Pictures of the couple waving weapons at protesters on June 28 were shared widely and were seen by many as a symbol of tensions in the US following the death of George Floyd.
On Tuesday, Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, said Trump “doesn’t like what he sees and the way these people are being treated.”
Parson, as quoted by The Washington Post, said he thought the president and Attorney General William Barr “are going to take a look” at the McCloskey case.
“The president said that he would do everything he could within his powers to help with this situation and he would be taking action to do that,” Parson said.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in a statement accused the president and the governor of playing politics with the case.
2/ As I always do. I am reviewing all the available facts and the law and will apply them equally, regardless of the people involved.
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) July 14, 2020
4/ It is also incredible that at a time when our nation is dealing with a rapidly spreading deadly virus and our State reported a record number of new infections, they are launching these dog-whistle attacks against me. They should be focused on their jobs, & I’ll focus on mine.
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) July 14, 2020
Lt. Keith Wildhaber of the St. Louis County Police Department, who was awarded a $20 million judgment in a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit last October, has agreed to a $10.25 million settlement.
It’s believed the county planned on appealing the ruling, and so Wildhaber came to this agreement to avoid a protracted appeals process.
You may recall Wildhaber, who is openly gay, sued St. Louis County after being passed over for promotion 23 times. Wildhaber said he was being discriminated against due to his sexual orientation.
In the lawsuit, Wildhaber alleged a member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners told him that if he wanted to get promoted, “you should tone down your gayness.”
More from ABC News:
According to the settlement papers filed Tuesday morning in a St. Louis County court, Wildhaber is to receive a little more than $6.4 million and his attorneys will get about $3.8 million.
Prior to going to trial last year, Wildhaber and his lawyers offered to settle the case for $850,000 plus an immediate promotion of Wildhaber to lieutenant, according to a timeline of the case released by Page’s office. Steve Stenger, the previous St. Louis County Executive, ignored the offer, according to the timeline.
Stenger was later indicted on federal charges in a pay-for-play scandal. He pleaded guilty in August to charges of bribery, mail fraud and depriving citizens of honest services of a public official and sentenced to 46 months in prison.
Following the October jury verdict in Wildhaber’s case, Belmar promoted Wildhaber from sergeant to lieutenant. Belmar also created the police department’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit and put Wildhaber in charge of it, Page said.
Just hours before the settlement was made public, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar announced he will retire in April. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the retirement had nothing to do with the settlement.
I reported earlier this week on the discrimination lawsuit brought by St. Louis County police officer Sgt. Keith Wildhaber who says he was told to “tone down the gayness” if he ever wanted to be promoted to lieutenant.
At the end of a weeklong trial, the jury deliberated only three hours before awarding the 22-year-veteran nearly $20 million, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Here’s the breakdown of the damages per the jury:
• $1.9 million in actual damages
• $10 million in punitive damages
• $999,000 for actual damages for retaliation allegations
• $7 million in punitive damages for retaliation allegations
The jury foreman told reporters, “We wanted to send a message. If you discriminate you are going to pay a big price…You can’t defend the indefensible.”
Several jurors shared with the press that an array of photos presented in court Friday became key evidence in coming to their decision.
Earlier in the week, Donna Woodland, a widow of a former county police officer, testified that Capt. Guy Means called Wildhaber “fruity” while attending a police charity event in 2015.
According to Woodland, Means added that Wildhaber would never be promoted because he was “way too out there with his gayness and had to tone it down.”
Means later testified he didn’t remember attending the event and didn’t know Woodland saying he wouldn’t be able “to pick her out of the jury box if she was sitting there.”
On Friday, Woodland returned with an array of photo booth pics from the event showing Means posing with her, including one instance where he was giving her a big hug.
Hardly the kind of pose you do with someone you “don’t know.”
In the opening of the trial, Wildhaber told the jury he was “sickened” when a former member of the St. Louis County Police Board of Commissioners, John Saracino, told him in 2014 to “tone down the gayness” if he wanted a promotion.
Wildhaber’s lawsuit alleged he had been passed over for promotion 23 times despite high scores on promotions tests.
On the opening day of the lawsuit, lawyers representing Wildhaber characterized Chief Jon Belmar as “having a penchant for promoting masculine men that dominates all promotional decisions and said that he will retaliate against anyone who questions them, as Wildhaber did by filing his lawsuit.”
After filing his lawsuit, Wildhaber said he faced retaliation by being transferred to the Jennings precinct which nearly tripled his daily commute to work. And he was moved from afternoon shifts and put on midnights.
Wildhaber told the court, “It’s what’s known as a ‘geography lesson’ in the department.”
Chief Belmar later testified that Wildhaber’s lawsuit was a factor in denying the sergeant any promotions, which Wildhaber’s lawyers called “the best sound bite” for the case.
According to the Post-Dispatch, a spokesperson for county officials said they “will be exploring all of our legal options this weekend and we are going to do what’s best for the county.”
I fully expect the jury’s decision to be appealed and the amount of the damages to be reduced. But, a win is a win.
As I previously reported, Missouri has no laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace.
St. Louis resident Tony Tovar is being called the “World’s Chillest Man” after video footage of him calming sitting through a bar robbery went viral.
According to NBC News, Tovar was having a beer at Behrmann’s Tavern on August 28 when an armed robber entered the establishment demanding the patrons get down on the ground and hand over their valuables.
Tovar, however, sat on his barstool and calmly sipped his beer while the gunman moved around the watering hole.
In surveillance footage, you can see the robber press his gun into Tovar’s arm. But the “World’s Chillest Man” just lits up a cigarette.
Tovar later said, “I just had a really good feeling he wasn’t out to harm anybody.”
Watch the Chill One in the report below.
|Edward Terry (image via Missouri Dept of Corrections)|
A St. Louis man has been charged with making a terrorist threat after allegedly telling PrideFest organizers he planned to show up at this year’s Pride parade with his guns and “kill every gay person I can before I kill myself.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 49-year-old Edward Terry created a fake email address using the name of a woman he used to live with in order to send his threat to a parade organizer for PrideSTL.
But, after being notified by the recipient, the FBI tracked the account to Terry’s cell phone.
Terry’s bail was set at $20,000.
St. Louis’ Pride Parade regularly attracts hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators.
Marty Zuniga, vice president of PrideFest, said in a statement to the press that the organization works “hard to produce an event that is safe for all participants.”
“PrideFest takes all threats seriously and works with local law enforcement,” added Zuniga.
The St. Louis Pride Parade was in the news earlier this week after organizers reversed themselves on whether to allow police officers to march in uniform in the June 30 event.
The Post-Dispatch reports that Pride St. Louis requested officers not take part in the parade “citing sensitivities surrounding the 50-year anniversary of the New York police raid on the Stonewall Inn bar that helped spur the gay-rights movement.”
But after meetings and discussions with police and LGBTQ community leaders, the decision was made to allow LGBTQ police officers to march in uniform.
Mayor Lyda Krewson told the Post-Dispatch, “Exclusion of our police or, frankly, anyone is not in the spirit of our city.”
The St. Louis man, Mark Coloa, who drove his car through a throng of protesters Wednesday night has been arrested and charged with a felony count of resisting arrest by fleeing and two misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of an accident and operating a vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner.
From the St. Louis Dispatch:
Colao pushed his car through the protesters, he gave the middle finger to a police officer who pulled alongside his car, and “accelerated aggressively” as he left the scene, according to charging documents.
He initially refused to stop for officers, police say. They caught up to him after he “violently applied his brakes” to avoid striking traffic several blocks away, at Chouteau Avenue and Grand Boulevard, where he was arrested, according to police.
Three protesters suffered minor injuries.
The protesters had come from an evening vigil remembering Kiwi Herring, a transgender woman who was shot and killed by police after she allegedly cut a police officer with a knife.
Watch the surveillance video below.
Three demonstrators at a Trans Lives Matter memorial in St. Louis were injured last night when a driver drove through the crowd.
The vigil was organized in memory of Kiwi Herring, a trans woman who died earlier this week when she allegedly cut a police officer with a knife.
The demonstrators blocked the road frustrating drivers who mostly found other venues to drive around the crowd.
But one driver in a Mercedes, after honking his horn in an attempt to dispel the crowd, drove through the protesters.
Pix from car that drove through protesters, car stopped was surrounded, then drove through, one person ended up on hood, only minor injuries pic.twitter.com/EYNxSJARoF
— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 24, 2017
More from LGBTQ Nation:
Police and those present at the vigil are giving different accounts of how the situation escalated.
Schron Jackson, a police spokeswoman, gave the following statement to the River Front Times:
Tonight, a group of protesters marched from the Transgender Memorial to the intersection of Manchester and Sarah were they blocked traffic in all directions. A vehicle approached, stopped, honked its horn and attempted to drive around the protesters.
The protesters surrounded the vehicle and began striking it with their hands and a flag pole. Several protesters also kicked and jumped on top of the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle (white male) proceeded to drive away when three protesters ( 2 white females and 1 white male) fell from the vehicle. The three protesters reported minor injuries, but refused medical attention on the scene.
Police attempted to stop driver of vehicle who initially refused to stop. He stopped about a block away from the incident and was taken into custody for felony fleeing. The incident was captured on video. The investigation is ongoing.
Protester Keith Rose disputes that account in a Facebook post, saying no one hit the car until the driver began running into people. He said the driver gave the finger to the crowd before driving into them.
“The SLMPD is going out of its way to protect this man who tried to run over people just a couple weeks after the Charlottesville attack. This kind of immunity from consequences only emboldens the people who want to harm protesters,” he writes.
The St. Louis County Council has passed LGBT non-discrimination protections:
An overflow crowd of more than 250 people spilled out of the council chambers in Clayton; 92 of them signed up to address the council, and most took advantage of that opportunity in a public comments segment that lasted more than two hours.
And as could be expected on an issue that involved religion and civil rights, most of them spoke fervently.
The ordinance adds protections for people in employment, housing and public accommodations in unincorporated areas, regardless of their sexual orientation. It also expands protections on the basis of gender and disability.
The bill passed 4-3 and includes exemptions for religious organizations.
From the passage of marriage equality in three more states (Maryland, Maine, Washington) by popular vote in the recent election, to the re-election of the most gay-friendly President we’ve ever had, to the election of the first openly lesbian US Senator (Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin) to the possible repeal of Prop 8 after tomorrow’s news from SCOTUS, this has the potential to be the best month ever for LGBT rights and people.