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Synthesis/Regeneration 32   (Fall 2003)

Green Party Asks for Investigation
of May 16 Police Abuse

On June 20, a month after the illegal search of its office, the Green Party of St. Louis presented the Board of Aldermen with the following request for a serious inquiry into the police actions of May 16–18, 2003.

Request for Action by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen
Concerning Police Behavior of May 16

On May 16–18, 2003 officers of the St. Louis Police Department took actions which had the effect of suppressing political dissent against the biotechnology industry. They exceeded their legal authority, departed from Department procedure and regulation by not wearing their name badges and violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights: that is, the rights of free speech, free assembly and freedom from unwarranted search and seizure of peaceful activists at 3309 Illinois, 3022–26 Cherokee, several bicyclists near Grand and Arsenal and a motorist who was taken to jail for not wearing a seatbelt. Multiple announcements by Police Chief Mokwa diverted public attention from discussing links between environmental racism and genetic engineering to focusing on unsubstantiated rumors concerning a demonstration planned for May 18.

We request that the St. Louis Board of Aldermen take the following actions:

1. Recommend that the City Attorney drop all pending charges of city ordinance violations against the 27 victims and that the Building Inspector immediately remove the condemnation of 3309 Illinois;

2. Recommend reimbursement of the value of property retained, lost or destroyed which belonged to those arrested at 3309 Illinois, at 3022-26 Cherokee and those riding bicycles;

3. Apologize to the 27 victims on behalf of the City of St. Louis;

4. Conduct an inquiry into police actions which would include:

5. If the inquiry finds that Police Chief Mokwa was negligent, incompetent, or intended to violate rights protected by the US Constitution, then recommend specific disciplinary action to the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners.

6. Pass Board Bill 47 in order to establish a Civilian Oversight Board for the St. Louis Police Department which has subpoena power, independence and some elected members.

[13 sep 03]

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