Associated Press | KBIA

Associated Press

A Missouri police chief received backlash from several county officials after denying the existence of systematic racism in the local police department.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the St. Louis County Police Department Chief Mary Barton told the County Council Tuesday during a video conference that “to say there’s systemic racism in the police department is overly broad and probably not accurate." Many council members questioned whether Barton was capable of leading the department because of her views.

Another 19,820 Missourians filed initial unemployment claims last week but that number continued a steady decline in such claims since mid-April. Missouri Department of Labor data released Thursday shows last week's claims dropped from 20,459 the previous week. Unemployment claims have steadily declined since 101,722 claims were filed for the week of April 11. The peak of claims was 104,230 for the week ending March 28, when stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic began to take effect.

Students from the University of Missouri who want a statue of Thomas Jefferson removed from the Columbia campus have met with campus leaders to discuss the issue. University of Missouri System President Mun Choi met in private Thursday with the organizers of the petition. University spokesman Christian Basi said the meeting was “very constructive" but said more details would be released later. An online petition seeking the statue's removal garnered more than 3,250 signatures by Thursday afternoon.

St. Louis County health officials say they want to start coronavirus testing for anyone who leaves their homes and has frequent contact with others. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Wednesday the recommendation is the result of county's ability to buy more tests. Starting Monday, the county will provide tests for any resident who has frequent contact with others outside their homes, even if they don't have any symptoms or have had no contact with anyone who is COVID-19 positive.  And the state reported it now has more than 15,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

Kansas City officials have advanced a measure that would drop misdemeanor charges against those who took part in street protests to decry racial injustice following the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Kansas City Star reports that the City Council is considering legislation offered by Councilman Brandon Ellington to prevent many of those people from being prosecuted, as long as they didn’t commit a violent crime or damage property. The council’s Special Committee on Legal Review voted 3-1 on Tuesday to advance the legislation.

Missouri's Supreme Court won't take up a lawsuit over whether a proposal to expand Medicaid health care should go before voters. The court's Monday decision means the proposal to extend eligibility to thousands more low-income adults will stay on the August ballot. The leaders of two conservative groups say the initiative forces the state to spend money on Medicaid expansion and violates the state constitution. An appeals court on Monday ruled that at face value, the initiative doesn't direct the Legislature to spend money.

State health officials say Missouri reported another triple-digit increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, with 179 new cases on Tuesday.

The state currently had 14,913 cases since the pandemic started. Deaths jumped to 840 Tuesday, an increase of 21 from Monday. That was the highest increase in deaths since May 30, when an increase of 33 deaths was reported.

Pope Francis has named Springfield Massachusetts Bishop Mitchell Rozanski as the next archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, a diocese long associated with the conservative wing of the U.S. church.

Rozanski replaces Archbishop Robert Carlson, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 last year and submitted his resignation to the pope. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis had accepted it and named Rozanski to succeed him.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is dismissing a lawsuit filed by a member of the Satanic Temple against a Missouri abortion law.

The court on Tuesday ditched the lawsuit against Missouri's “informed consent” law. The law requires women to receive a pamphlet that says life begins at conception before they can get abortions.

A woman who later had an abortion sued. She argued the law violated her religious freedom as a Satanic Temple member.

The mayor of St. Louis lifted on Monday the citywide curfew put in place last week after violent protests.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the nighttime curfew had been in place since Tuesday following violence that resulted in four police officers being shot, the fatal shooting of retired police chief David Dorn and damage to more than 60 businesses.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Lyda Kewson thanked residents and businesses that respected the curfew.

A coalition of clergy and community leaders is demanding the immediate firing of a suburban St. Louis police detective after a video appears to show him striking a man with a police SUV and then hitting the suspect at least twice while arresting him.

Florissant Police Chief Tim Fagan has asked St. Louis County police and the FBI to investigate. The arrest occurred Tuesday in Dellwood and was captured by a resident's doorbell camera. Two other officers at the scene are on leave.

Health officials say none of the people potentially exposed to the coronavirus at a Springfield hair salon contracted COVID-19.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced Monday that the incubation period for those exposed at a Great Clips salon has passed, and no clients or workers tested positive for COVID-19. Two stylists had confirmed cases in May after working at the Great Clips, potentially exposing 140 clients and six coworkers.

Charges have been filed against a 24-year-old St. Louis man who police say shot and killed a retired police captain during a night of violent protests as the former officer tried to protect his friend’s pawn shop.

Stephan Cannon has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 77-year-old David Dorn, who was killed on the sidewalk outside Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry early Tuesday. Police say they have surveillance footage of Cannon at the scene with a gun.

A Missouri appeals court has upheld the legality of a ballot initiative proposing to expand Medicaid health care coverage.

The ruling Monday by a three-judge panel upholds a decision last week by a Cole County judge.

The leaders of two conservative groups — Americans for Prosperity and United for Missouri — had claimed in lawsuits that the initiative forces the state to spend money on Medicaid expansion and thus violates the state constitution. But the court said the initiative does not at face value direct the Legislature to spend money.

Revenue collections in Missouri continue to drop because of the coronavirus.

State Budget Director Dan Haug on Friday said as of May, net general revenue collections were down more than 7% this year compared to last year. Revenues dropped significantly last month because of the coronavirus pandemic. In May alone, net general revenues decreased more than 22% compared to May 2019.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has cut close to $428 million in state government spending this year to compensate.

Missouri reported a sharp increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, particularly in the Kansas City area. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 290 new cases announced Thursday amount to the biggest single-day increase in the state since May 4. Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri's top health official, says improved testing could account for some of that increase but there could be other factors. He says state health officials are paying attention to the Kansas City metropolitan area, which had a triple-digit increase in cases for the third consecutive day.

Revenue collections in Missouri continue to drop because of the coronavirus. State Budget Director Dan Haug on Friday said as of May, net general revenue collections were down more than 7% this year compared to last year. Revenues dropped significantly last month because of the coronavirus pandemic. In May alone, net general revenues decreased more than 22% compared to May 2019. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has cut close to $428 million in state government spending this year to compensate. 

Missouri's U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is asking the U.S. attorney general to launch reviews of local police misconduct.

The Republican on Wednesday called on Attorney General William Barr to act in response to nationwide protests against police brutality. Blunt wants more pattern-or-practice reviews. Those are reviews of police agencies that can include reviews of how police handle protests. A review of the Ferguson Police Department following months of protests over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown led to court-required changes in the agency.

Missouri's top health official says no additional cases of the new coronavirus have been reported stemming from the crowded pool parties at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial Day weekend.

Camden County Health Department reported last week that a Boone County resident who had attended the parties tested positive for the virus. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said Wednesday that no more cases have been uncovered since.

The University of Missouri Faculty Council has rejected a a proposal to start fall classes 10 days early.

KMIZ reports that the council voted 23-6 Thursday against a proposal to begin the fall semester Aug. 12 and hold classes on Labor Day. The plan also called for ending in-person classes at the Thanksgiving break on Nov. 20, with finals starting ten days later. The university said in a news release Wednesday that the proposal would have to pass the council before going before the Board of Curators.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says the city is making sweeping changes in police procedures in response to concerns raised by citizens during nearly a week of protests.

The Kansas City Police Commission held a closed meeting Thursday to discuss complaints from black leaders and citizens about police conduct during the protests. Lucas said the city will ask an outside agency to investigate all officer-involved shootings, will create whistleblower protections for officers and review the use of tear gas and projectiles.

Missouri's top health official says no additional cases of the new coronavirus have been reported stemming from the crowded pool parties at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial Day weekend. Camden County Health Department reported last week that a Boone County resident who had attended the parties tested positive for the virus. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said Wednesday that no more cases have been uncovered since.

In the protest movement surrounding George Floyd’s death, a time span has become an important symbol: 8 minutes, 46 seconds. That’s how long prosecutors say the 46-year-old black man was pinned to the ground under a white police officer’s knee before he died last week.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page says President Donald Trump is “fanning the flames” of unrest and treating demonstrations over the death of George Floyd as a reality show. Page's comments Wednesday came after a night of relative calm following several days of protests that led to violence. Late Monday and early Tuesday, four St. Louis police officers were shot and a retired St. Louis officer was killed by people who broke into a pawn shop. Trump on Monday threatened to send federal military troops to U.S.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is asking unmasked protesters to quarantine over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. Page on Wednesday said he's concerned days of protests over the death of George Floyd might reverse progress that St. Louis County has made on the coronavirus. He's asking people who didn't wear masks or socially distance themselves during recent protests to quarantine. 

Four St. Louis police officers were shot after peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent overnight, and a retired police captain was shot to death by looters at a pawn shop.

Separately, a man was gravely injured in an exchange of gunfire with police in a northern suburb.

Chaos ensued after nightfall, with protesters smashing windows, looting businesses and setting fires. Police say the four officers were shot while standing in a police line.

Missouri's governor is cutting another $209 million from this year's budget in response to declining revenues because of the coronavirus.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson announced the cuts Monday. The cuts include $123 million in core funding to public K-12 schools and $34 million from four-year public colleges. Much of the cuts to K-12 schools will be offset by federal funding.

Parson says the cuts were necessary during what he described as unprecedented bad economic times. The governor has cut a total of $428 million in state funding so far this year. 

Police say a 77-year-old retired St. Louis police officer was shot and killed by people who had broken into a pawn shop during unrest that followed a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd.

David Dorn was found dead on the sidewalk in front of Lee’s Pawn & Jewelry. Police have not released details of what led to the shooting about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and no one has been arrested.

The shooting and theft at the pawn shop apparently was posted on Facebook Live, but the video has since been taken down. 

St. Louis County police are investigating the theft of nearly three dozen guns from a pawn shop, all of them semi-automatic weapons. Officers responded at 1:10 a.m. Sunday to an alarm at Southside Pawn and Jewelry in Affton and found that windows had been shattered. Police spokesman Benjamin Granda said Monday that the business operators determined that 34 firearms were stolen — 32 semi-automatic handguns and two semi-automatic rifles. Granda says that at least six vehicles were involved in the burglary, with at least 10 suspects. No arrests have been made.

Local election officials across Missouri who have scrambled to make polling places as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic will see if their efforts pay off Tuesday. While each county is different, voters in local elections are likely to see poll workers wearings masks or face shields, social distancing requirements and single-use styluses to fill out their ballots. Concerns about voter safety prompted Republican Gov. Mike Parson to move local elections from April 7 to this Tuesday.

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