Protesters from across St Louis turned up and turned out for the first St Louis County Council Meeting since Mike Brown’s Death. (Part I)
The St Louis County Council wasn’t as bad as Ferguson’s Council, but still very few answers and virtually no accountability from the folks who unleashed unholy hell on the residents of Ferguson, following Brown’s murder. #staywoke #farfromover
KEEP POSTING I NEED TO KNOW! DONT STOP POSTING ABOUT THIS. IT IS NOT OVER!
To get a sense of the fracture that cuts this city in two, drive along Delmar Boulevard, a major four-lane road that runs east to west. Hit the brakes when you see an Aldi grocery store and put your finger on the blinker. Decide which world to enter.
In the blocks to the immediate south: Tudor homes, wine bars, a racquet club, a furniture store selling sofas for $6,000. The neighborhood, according to U.S. Census data, is 70 percent white.
In the blocks to the immediate north: knocked-over street signs, collapsing houses, fluttering trash, tree-bare streets with weeds blooming from the sidewalk. The neighborhood is 99 percent black.
The geography of almost every U.S. city reveals at least some degree of segregation, but in St. Louis, the break between races — and privilege — is particularly drastic, so defined that those on both sides speak often about a precise boundary. The Delmar Divide, they call it, and it stands as a symbol of the disconnect that for years has bred grievances and frustrations, emotions that exploded into public view on the streets of the majority-black suburb of Ferguson after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. Ferguson is north of Delmar; the suburb of Crestwood, where the officer lives, is south.
Even the way people perceive the Aug. 9 shooting and the street protests that have followed is influenced by geography.
“I’m one of those people that feels sorry for the officer,” said Paul Ruppel, 41, a white business owner who lives just to the south of the divide. “For the most part, I believe the police of St. Louis are doing a great job.”
Said Alvonia Crayton, an African American woman who lives just to the north of Delmar: “My reaction is, what took them so long? Michael Brown was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
St. Louis’s geographic divide stems from a legacy of segregation — legal and illegal — and more recent economic stratification that has had the effect of reinforcing racial separation. Even now, some tony suburbs maintain large-lot single-family zoning, essentially closing the door to lower-earners who might want to subdivide a property.
St. Louis, its urban center hollowed out, has had far less of the gentrification that has transformed other Rust Belt cities, including Chicago and Pittsburgh. Look at a map of St. Louis, color-coded by race, and majority-African American communities sit almost exclusively to the north — that is, above Delmar.
“You have a division between the haves and have-nots,” commented Carol Camp Yeakey, founding director of the Center on Urban Research & Public Policy and Interdisciplinary Program in Urban Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. “People on one side are prospering, and the people on the other side are not.”
The divide is hardly absolute. Middle-class and well-off African American families are scattered throughout the northern part of the city and St. Louis County. Some areas, like University City and Florissant, have long been considered appealing places to live.
Researchers from Washington University and Saint Louis University highlighted the “Delmar Divide” in a lengthy report on the city’s disparities published this year. They analyzed the data of abutting, several-square-block areas north and south of Delmar, right near the Aldi. To the south, home values were $310,000 on average, and 67 percent of adults had bachelor’s degrees. To the north, home values were $78,000. Only one in 20 had college degrees.
Although the divide spans most of Delmar’s 10 miles, it’s seen most sharply near the Aldi, where two neighborhoods share a Zip code but have almost nothing else to do with one another.
The wealthier and majority white neighborhood that starts south of Delmar, known as the Central West End, publishes a community mapshowing 125 businesses, including a whiskey bar and an independent bookstore. St. Louis Blues hockey star T.J. Oshie lives in the area. So do university professors and vice chancellors. Residents have also noticed a black Lincoln Navigator, with a driver, that’s often parked on a gated, private street, ready to transport one wealthy homeowner at a moment’s notice.
The neighborhood, residents say, is relatively diverse. It’s home to some students, blacks, Asians, Hispanics. But there are also residents who say they’ve been made uncomfortable by police officers’ targeting of minorities.
When Chris Hand, a white law student from the West Coast was moving into this neighborhood a year ago, he saw two black men who were “dressed a little raggedy” walking down the street, Hand said. Then, a police officer stopped them, patted them down and told them to sit on the curb.
“He started interrogating them and said, ‘Are you to be panhandling?’ ” Hand recalled. “He booted them out of the neighborhood,” telling them to head north, toward Delmar Boulevard.
“It was just a little shocking,” Hand said.
Some in the Central West End say there is a reason to be vigilant in an area packed with commerce that is seeking new development. Residents of some sections of the neighborhood have elected to pay an extra tax, most of which is used to pay for more officers to patrol the neighborhood by bike. The police are off-duty from their regular jobs but come to the area to moonlight, said Jim Whyte, executive director of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative, a group formed in 2007 that works in cooperation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
When a reporter walked through the neighborhood with a camera, one police officer on a bike came by to check on matters. Whyte soon followed, introducing himself and offering a tour of his office, where a tackboard displayed six photos of “Known Panhandlers” — all African Americans. The reporter told Whyte that he was about to head north of Delmar.
“Just be careful,” said Whyte, a retired St. Louis city police officer. “I’m serious.”
Urban planners worry that the racial divide is self-reinforcing, with home values linked to property taxes and quality of schools. Even if development pushes north of Delmar, lower-earners might be flushed out, chased away by home prices they can no longer afford.
That dynamic leaves St. Louis locked in what Jim Dwyer, a longtime Central West End resident, called a “two-world existence.” Some working-class residents from north of Delmar venture south for a meal or some shopping. But very few from the south go north.
The emotions over Ferguson events remain raw.
“I don’t think anybody expected this — even after the shooting,” Ruppel said, referring to the unrest.
Like Ruppel, Jill Boudreau, who was shopping in the Central West End on Wednesday, is willing to give the officer, Darren Wilson, the benefit of the doubt.
“That kid [Michael Brown], he probably did something” to merit a response from the officer, she said. “We don’t know all the facts.”
Just to the north of Delmar, in the almost entirely black area of Fountain Park, frustrations have long festered, but residents say their neighborhood is improving.
Homes were foreclosed en masse after the 2008 economic crisis, and that’s left a quieter, somewhat emptier area populated by aging homeowners. Many are working-class. There are barbecue picnics on weekends, and a sunflower and vegetable garden has sprouted in an area of razed lots. There are also bargains to be had: Turn-of-the-century mansions, with servants’ quarters, run for under $100,000 on the market.
Still, it has the markings of a tough neighborhood. Restaurant options run a limited gamut from fast-food burgers to takeout Chinese. Residents can tick off violent crimes that happened on this corner and that. Toughest of all, many north of Delmar say they’ve become inured to the divide — so accustomed to it that they sometimes have to remind themselves that it’s a problem.
“It’s life in St. Louis,” said Lawrence McKnight, a custodian at Centennial Christian Church in Fountain Park. “Some factions have it harder than others.”
“It’s always been the same,” said Jeanette Jones, a mail carrier who has worked both to the north and south.
“Once you cross Delmar — I don’t know, it’s a different world.”
The police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the riots that followed are likely a result of years of racial tensions simmering in and around St. Louis, Missouri.
Hundreds of people have protested in the streets of Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, and it appears racial tensions there have been boiling for years.
The Midwestern city is one of the most segregated in America.
This map shows the racial disparity in the city. The green color indicates a higher population of African-Americans (Ferguson is near Castle Point):
Throughout the past century, St. Louis has experienced “white flight” — white people progressively moving away from the city’s urban center and out into the suburbs.
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
Colin Gordon / University of Iowa
As you can see in the maps above, as black residents move into certain neighborhoods, white residents tend to move farther out.
Part of the tension in Ferguson likely stems from the major racial disparity between the city’s police force and its citizens.
The Washington Post notes that while two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, the city’s police department only has three black officers (out of 53), and most of the top city officials are white.
Protests erupted in Ferguson after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, over last weekend.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened. Police say Brown lunged for an officer’s gun, but a friend of Brown who witnessed the incident said Brown had his hands up when he was shot.
He never stopped filming.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Ferguson on Sunday night. The situation quickly spiraled out-of-control when police fired tear gas into the crowd well before the midnight curfew. It’s unclear what prompted the police action.
Capturing the dramatic events for the world was Mustafa Hussein, a student who works at a local all-volunteer music station, Argus Radio. The station is using video equipment it purchased to live-stream concerts to broadcast the protests in Ferguson.
Tonight, as tens of thousands of people around the world watched, Hussein was threatened by an officer wielding a weapon. “Get the fuck out of here! You get that light off or you’re getting shot with this!,” the man shouts. That portion of the live-stream was uploaded to YouTube:
Undeterred, Hussein continued broadcasting. Subsequently, he can be heard reporting the incident to a different officer and other reporters. He then called his dad to tell him he loved him.
Source: Judd Legum for ThinkProgress
BREAKING: Per Congressman Lacy Clay (D), St. Louis County Police will no longer be involved in policing #Ferguson
BREAKING: Ferguson Police will NOT release name of officer who shot Michael Brown at this time. #Ferguson #FergusonShooting
#Ferguson police don’t have a new time when they will release name. But say it won’t be at noon.— Ryan Dean (@RyanDeanKSDK) August 12, 2014
Ferguson cops tell stories of death threats against them— Roche Madden (@RocheMaddenTV) August 12, 2014
Ferguson police say rocks being thrown at patrol cars— Roche Madden (@RocheMaddenTV) August 12, 2014
The town of Ferguson, like much of north St. Louis County, was inching its way back after suffering heavily in the real estate and jobs collapse in the last decade.
Then came the conflagration of Sunday night. Now local residents are wondering if recent signs of economic hope could vanish.
Those signs included a rapidly falling number of home foreclosures in North County. Real estate agents in Ferguson and some nearby towns saw signs that prices were stabilizing, or even rising in some neighborhoods.
Ferguson city government had spruced up its little downtown along Florissant Road. It became a local destination with a wine bar, brew pub and restaurants. Business seemed to be looking up.
The town dangled subsidies in front of new college graduates to get them to buy houses in town, and launched a lending program for home repairs.
“Everyone was very optimistic,” said Carolyn Marty, president of the Greater North County Chamber of Commerce.
On Saturday, Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, was shot to death by a Ferguson police officer. Crowds took to the streets in protest. On Sunday night, looting and arson broke out on West Florissant Avenue, hitting many businesses in neighboring Dellwood, leaving neighbors and business owners to wonder what comes next.
“I was just devastated. Everybody worked so hard to get North County growing. Everything people were doing for years could be defeated with just one pop of the balloon,” said Carol O’Mara, director of housing in Florissant, Ferguson’s northern neighbor.
Ferguson, population 21,000, is a town of diversity.
“We have century homes — three-story houses on big lots. We have houses for first-time homebuyers, houses for the middle class, to the upper end,” says Rory Schwartz, who has sold Ferguson houses for 30 years, and now manages a Berkshire Hathaway real estate office in North County.
Much of Ferguson is a picture of pleasant suburbia, with trees lining streets in front of tract houses built during the 1950s and 1960s.
Although it has a mix of housing, Ferguson is mainly a blue-collar town and somewhat poorer than the rest of the region. Median family income was $44,000 in 2012, compared with $75,000 in St. Louis County as a whole and $59,000 for the state of Missouri. The town had a poverty rate of 20 percent, according to the census, compared to 7.8 percent for the county as a whole and 10.7 percent in Missouri.
Like much of North County, Ferguson has also undergone a racial transition, from 52 percent black in 2000 to 66 percent in 2012.
Some worry that TV images of buildings burning could have a psychological impact, damaging business and the housing market in Ferguson and surrounding towns. Reggie Bomar, a real estate agent and landlord with property in Ferguson, worries that people may decide to leave. “If my neighborhood is this explosive, do I get out of here?” he asked.
On the other hand, scenes of looting could fade into memory if future protests are peaceful. “I hope it’s not long-lasting, for Ferguson’s sake,” said Bomar.
Sunday’s disturbance came against a recent history of financial distress that altered neighborhoods in parts of North County. The Great Recession and housing bust hit the area particularly hard, both in jobs and in housing, and Ferguson was no exception.
As of March, the typical house in Ferguson was worth 37 percent less than at its peak in 2007, according to the Zillow housing sales website. The region as a whole was down 15 percent.
Ferguson’s situation is fairly typical for North County. Economist Bill Rogers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis calculates that a house in most of St. Louis County would be worth roughly half as much if moved to the Ferguson-Florissant School District. It would lose roughly 60 percent of its value in the North County school districts of Normandy, Jennings or Riverview Gardens. Those gaps have been widening since the recession six years ago.
More than the rest of the region, North County suffered from a seven-year run of home foreclosures that saw thousands of homeowners become renters and thousands of homes go from occupant-owned to rental property.
But foreclosures are fading fast. Less than 1 percent of Ferguson houses and apartments units were in foreclosure in the first half of this year, down from 5 percent in 2008, according to RealtyTrac.
Fewer cheap foreclosures on the market has given rise to hope that prices may finally start rising again. “We’ve been seeing a little bit of an uptick in Ferguson, Florissant and Hazelwood,” said Rebecca Zoll, who heads North County Incorporated, the regional economic development group.
There are no good estimates of unemployment for suburban towns. But North County maintains a good employment base. Emerson, a global manufacturer on the Fortune 500 list, is based in Ferguson. Boeing, Express Scripts, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Mallinckrodt are among big employers producing a $7 billion annual payroll in North County, according to a University of Missouri analysis. Still, the number of jobs has declined.
Ferguson’s municipal government fought back with redevelopment programs.
“Over the past few years, they’ve done remarkably well,” Zoll said. “They had lots of new restaurants that opened and housing above the restaurants. Lots of businesses are doing very well in Ferguson right now.”
Antonio French is tweeting video and photos from the scene.
Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman, has offered an up-close and often terrifying view of what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, where police and residents have clashed ever since a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, on Saturday, August 9. For an unflinching look at what is going on the St. Louis suburb, follow French on Twitter.
French, who represents the city’s 21st ward, has been tweeting out spare commentary along with videosand pictures from the scene. But many of the images speak for themselves, particularly those from Monday night, when police in riot gear used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the streets of residents, some of whom are shown in French’s footage with their hands up in surrender.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench)August 12, 2014— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench)August 12, 2014— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench)August 12, 2014— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench)August 12, 2014
Source: Lauren Williams for Vox
BREAKING: Night two of the Mayhem In Ferguson has started. #Ferguson #FergusonRiots
More tear gas deployed during KSDK live shot. Police line advancing on neighborhood. #Ferguson— Mason (@MasonShow) August 12, 2014
Police firing tear gas saying “go back to your homes” onW Florissant pic.twitter.com/SirrNjAZ30— Casey Nolen KSDK (@CaseyNolen) August 12, 2014
Police fire tear gas in Ferguson. Not sure why. Not sure of injuries.— Shirley Washington (@SWashingtonTV) August 12, 2014
#FergusonRiots: Rioters broke windows of KMOV’s news truck
KMOV reporter Brittany Noble (@BrittanyNoble) on her station’s news truck window being broken:
My Take on tonight’s #FergusonRiots:
My take on tonight’s classless and destructive riots in Ferguson, Missouri: There is a right way and a wrong way to protest the injustice committed by the Ferguson cop who shot Michael Brown 10 times. The band of vile duncebuckets who decided to vandalize QuikTrip, KMOV’s news truck, and other businesses and news crews do not represent the majority who were there to protest peacefully. Also, this is NOT a time to make snarky and snide remarks about getting free drinks, candy, or any other item(s) stolen from businesses. #Ferguson #MikeBrown #FergusonRiots #FergusonShooting
I have a pretty tough shell after 13 years of blogging, but this report by Elisa Crouch about 18-year old Michael Brown, gunned down by a police officer yesterday in Missouri, brought tears to my eyes. What a tragic loss to the world. Michael Brown Remembered as a ‘Gentle Giant’.
Michael Brown posted a haunting message on Facebook last week as he prepared to enter a new phase in his life — college.
“if i leave this earth today,” he wrote to a friend, “atleast youll know i care about others more then i cared about my damn self.”
Brown, 18, died Saturday after a Ferguson police officer shot him multiple times outside an apartment complex as he walked to his grandmother’s home. Brown was two days from starting class at Vatterott College. Close friends had been packing up and departing for schools such as Kansas State University and Arkansas Baptist University on sports scholarships.
“Everyone else wanted to be a football player, a basketball player,” said Gerard Fuller, who had known Brown since second grade at Pine Lawn Elementary School. “He wanted to own his own business. He’d say, ‘Let’s make something out of nothing.’”
Brown graduated from high school at the predominately African-American Normandy High School, a high-poverty school in a district that has been at the center of legislative battles and a string of politically charged decisions by the Missouri Board of Education.
Teachers described Brown as a “gentle giant,” a student who loomed large and didn’t cause trouble. Friends describe him as a quiet person with a wicked sense of humor, one who loved music and had begun to rap. He fought an uphill battle to graduate.
BREAKING: Missouri Town Erupts In Protest After Police Shoot Unarmed Black Teenager [TW: Racism, Ethnocentrism, White Privilege]
Anger and disbelief filled the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed after a confrontation with a police officer while he was walking down the street on Saturday afternoon.
Anger and disbelief filled the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed following a confrontation with a police officer while he was walking down the street on Saturday afternoon.
Piaget Crenshaw, a witness to the shooting, told Fox2 St. Louis that Brown and a friend, Dorin Johnson, were walking in the street when a police officer drove up and told them to get on the sidewalk. After a verbal confrontation, Crenshaw said the officer got out of his car and fired a shot and when the teens started running, fired another. “Crenshaw and Johnson say the teen [Brown] held up his hands to show he did not have a weapon, however the officer fired at him two more times and he collapsed and died in the street,” the news channel reported.
Another witness told local news station KMOV that the officer “was in the car shooting this boy.” The woman said, “he threw his hands up and he shot him and the boy fell, then he shot him some more.”
During a Sunday news conference, however, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters that the “genesis was a physical confrontation,” as the officer allegedly attempted to get out of his car and was pushed back in by Brown, after which a struggle over the officer’s weapon ensued. One shot was fired in the car and, as the officer exited his vehicle, several more. Belmar confirmed that Brown was unarmed and while he could not say how many times the teen was shot, it was “more than just a couple.”
Residents of the predominantly African-American suburb took to the streets to protest the killing on Saturday, with members of the crowd reportedly yelling “Kill the police” and firing warning shots, which prompted the police to call in more than 60 additional officers, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Whether residents were indeed chanting “Kill the police,” however, has been called into question; video from a demonstration outside the Ferguson Police Department shows residents chanting “Killer cops have got to go.” Video from a Saturday night demonstration shows residents with their arms raised, chanting “Don’t shoot me!” and “We are Michael Brown” in front of officers holding back barking dogs. Outlets like the Post-Dispatch temperedheadlines describing a “mob reaction” after backlash on social media.
Things got tense in Ferguson tonight after police shooting earlier in the day pic.twitter.com/PUnIh8zkmd
— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 10, 2014
The protests continued into Sunday in advance of the St. Louis County Police department press conference.
What the hell is going on in Ferguson?!pic.twitter.com/S5Yjnns6bU
— Tammie Holland (@TammieHolland) August 9, 2014
— George Sells (@GeorgeSells) August 10, 2014
"Justice. Now." https://t.co/otf7t4xuBq
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 10, 2014
The officer involved in the incident, who was not named, has been placed on paid administrative leave and will be interviewed more extensively on Sunday, according to Belmar. The Bureau of Crimes Against Persons has been asked to investigate and the St. Louis County Police Chief said he would turn over the results of their investigation to the county prosecuting attorney to determine whether any charges should be filed.
As for criticism over the length of time Brown’s body was left in the street, reportedly several hours, Belmar said it took a “very long time to process the scene” and the police department was careful to practice “due diligence.”
The local chapter of the NAACP has also called for the FBI to investigate the shooting. “With the recent events of a young man killed by the police in New York City and with Trayvon Martin and with all the other African-American young men that have been killed by police officers … this is a dire concern to the NAACP, especially our local organization,” John Gaskin, a member of the St. Louis County NAACP said.
Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said her son “doesn’t kill, steal or rob. He doesn’t do any of that.” Brown was scheduled to begin classes at Vatterott College on Monday.
Source: Kiley Kroh for ThinkProgress
ST. LOUIS • Miranda Duschack and Karen Davis were first married in a 2012 spiritual ceremony where they jumped over a broom, an African wedding tradition also used today by some same-sex couples to signify vows that aren’t legally sanctioned.
On Wednesday the couple, who together run an urban farm in south St. Louis, stepped into history on the burgundy carpet of Mayor Francis Slay’s ornate City Hall office by exchanging vows, and were given an official marriage certificate in a ceremony officiated by Municipal Judge Joseph Murphy.
“We’re actually doing this,” said an ecstatic Davis. “Can you believe it?”
As the question of the constitutionality of statewide same-sex marriage bans could soon spill into the marble halls of the U.S. Supreme Court, the city issued three other same-sex marriage licenses Wednesday. But officials will voluntarily stop issuing more as they pledge a court battle over Missouri’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
St. Louis is mounting the first direct challenge of the state ban. The city, which operates as an independent municipality, also performs county functions.
The four marriage licenses were signed by an emotional and misty-eyed Recorder of Deeds Sharon Quigley Carpenter, and four wedding ceremonies were held in Slay’s office as the smiling mayor snapped cellphone pictures of the couples. Two men who were married Wednesday have been in a committed relationship for 39 years.
“It makes me proud as a citizen and as a mayor,” Slay said.
But the echo of champagne corks popping in the mayor’s office will likely be silenced today with the thud of legal documents as officials get down to less-celebratory business. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who is charged to enforce the state’s constitution, is expected to sue the city, starting what will likely be a long legal battle.
Even with the official marriage documents from the city, the validity of the couples’ unions will be in question. Missouri’s constitution recognizes only marriage between a man and woman and bars county recorders from issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
“But, make no mistake about it,” said Slay, “I, and all of us standing here, are doing this to force the issue and to get the law settled for everyone who wants to get married in the state of Missouri.”
Slay added: “If we weren’t doing this, no other city in Missouri would.”
The constitutional same-sex marriage ban was passed by voters in 2004, making Missouri the first state with such a ban as the nation debated the issue of gay rights. Voters in some other states followed suit and approved similar bans.
City officials said they plan to challenge Missouri’s ban all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
Last year, that court ruled married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits, but stopped short of directly ruling on the constitutionality of statewide same-sex marriage bans.
St. Louis’ challenge comes after more than a year and a half of consideration. On Wednesday, Winston E. Calvert, the city’s attorney, issued a letter to Carpenter saying she may “in good faith conclude that same-sex couples who meet all other requirements for marriage are legally entitled to a marriage license because the Missouri laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.”
Calvert said he believes Missouri’s constitutional amendment violates the U.S. Constitution. The city’s battle to end the ban will start at the Civil Courts building downtown, which is now being lighted at night in a rainbow of colors to mark this weekend’s PrideFest celebration.
Challenges to statewide bans have been cropping up throughout the nation and could be before the Supreme Court as early as next year. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex unions and ruled that states may not deny couples their “fundamental right” to wed.
In St. Louis, Carpenter signed the marriage licenses shortly after 5 p.m., thrusting the four couples into months of court depositions, judicial hearings and publicity.
“As we all know, doors are cracking open everywhere,” Carpenter said.
The three other couples who were given licenses are Bruce Yampolsky and Terry Garrett, both of whom are active in the city’s Democratic politics; David Gray and Tod Martin, who is the deputy chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill; and John Durnell and Richard Eaton, residents of the Soulard neighborhood who have been together for 39 years.
“We hope in 20 years people don’t even think about it,” said Durnell, 63, before the ceremony as dozens of friends packed Slay’s office. “We take our freedoms for granted once we achieve them.”
Eaton, 75, nodded in agreement.
“It’s a big day for us, but a bigger day for other people in the community,” Eaton said.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson released a letter and video Friday evening responding to coverage of the deposition videos released earlier this week.
The videos show Carlson responding to questions about how he handled sexual abuse allegations against a Minnesota priest in the 1980s. At one point he says he is unsure if he knew back then that sex abuse was a crime.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has been critical of media reports surrounding the deposition.
In the letter released Friday evening, Carlson apologizes for causing concern and frustration, stating “abuse of any kind is a serious moral offense and a crime.”
Carlson goes on to say he “misunderstood a series of questions that were presented,” and that he has understood his entire adult life that sexual abuse is a crime and he is committed to protecting children from abuse.