Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Brownback Launches Education push in JoCo
August 25, 2014

Ks. Governor Sam Brownback stumping in Johnson County Monday.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is pledging to make education a second term priority.
Brownback came to the key battleground of Johnson County. He acknowledged education was an important issue to the area.
The Governor brought a charter. With him showing what he calls “a record level” of spending on schools since he took office.
His campaign say the Brownback Administration has added $270 million to the school budget since it took office in 2011.
Brownback’s running mate, Lt. Governor Jeff Coyler blasted Democratic opponent Sen Paul Davis.
He accused Davis of being a “status quo politician” more interest in lawyer and unions rather than Kansas educators. After, Brownback agreed with Coyler’s blast.
Brownback noted that Davis cast votes against bill that would equalize school spending I. Kansas and allow voters to incease their own taxes to provide school money. Davis’s campaign said Davis has a consistent record supporting public schools.
They say the votes the Governor refers to also contained measure Davis thinks would have been bad for Kansas teachers. A spokesman says Davis voted for different versions of the equalization and local option budget bills

Michael Brown’s Funeral Set for Monday Morning
August 25, 2014

(AP) — Since Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, protesters have taken to the streets of a St. Louis suburb night after night, calling for change and drawing national attention to issues surrounding race and policing.

Monday will be a day for his family and community to finally focus on mourning the 18-year-old who had been eager to start college, as he is laid to rest at a public funeral at a St. Louis church.

His father, Michael Brown Sr., has asked protesters to take a break Monday and observe a “day of silence” so the family can grieve.

“Tomorrow all I want is peace,” he told hundreds of people in St. Louis’ largest city park Sunday during brief remarks at a festival that promotes peace over violence. “That’s all I ask.”

Brown, who is black, was unarmed when he was shot Aug. 9 by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white. A grand jury is considering evidence in the case and a federal investigation is also underway.

Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend he was walking down the street with to move. Police said Wilson was pushed into his squad car and physically assaulted. Some witnesses have reported seeing Brown’s arms in the air – an act of surrender. An autopsy found Brown was shot at least six times.

Family members denounced a video police released of an alleged theft by Brown that authorities say shows him snatching some cigars in a convenience store just before he was killed. In the video, the person said to be Brown is shown grabbing a clerk by the shirt and forcefully pushing him into a display rack.

Family and friends say Brown was an aspiring rapper with a gentle, joking manner who dubbed himself “Big Mike.” He was good at fixing things, liked computer games, Lil Wayne, Drake, the movie “Grown Ups 2,” and the TV show “Family Guy.”

Brown’s great uncle, pastor Charles Ewing, will deliver the eulogy at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, and the Rev. Al Sharpton is also expected to speak.

“We don’t want anything tomorrow to happen that might defile the name of Michael Brown,” Sharpton said as he stood next to Brown’s father on Sunday. “This is not about our rage tomorrow. It’s about the legacy and memory of his son.”

President Barack Obama is sending three White House aides, and Gov. Jay Nixon said he will attend.

Monday will also mark the first day back at school for students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. Classes were scheduled to begin Aug. 14 but postponed due to safety concerns.

School personnel have received training in how to deal with students who may be experiencing stress related to the shooting.

Prosecutor Wants Status Cleared Up, Shooting Evidence to Washinton,, Guard Leaving Ferguson
August 22, 2014

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) – The streets of Ferguson were peaceful for another night, as protests and tensions were subsiding in the St. Louis suburb where unrest had erupted after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.

Gov. Jay Nixon also ordered the Missouri National Guard, which arrived Monday, to begin withdrawing as flare-ups have been easing. Police have made only a handful of arrests in the protest area on the past two nights.

“I feel we’re making progress,” Nixon told KMOX-AM, noting that a state of emergency remained in effect in Ferguson.

About 100 people gathered Thursday evening, walking in laps near the spot where Michael Brown was shot on Aug. 9. Some were in organized groups, such as clergy members. Police said there had been seven arrests, mainly for failure to disperse. That compares with six on Wednesday night and 47 the previous night – providing hope among law enforcement leaders that tensions were beginning to wane.

Several protesters were still calling Thursday night for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch to be removed from the case. Some question McCulloch’s ability to be unbiased since his father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police. His father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.

McCulloch reiterated Thursday that he has no intentions of stepping aside, and urged Nixon to decide once and for all if he will act on the calls for his ouster. While Nixon said this week he is not asking McCulloch to recuse himself, a McCulloch aide, Ed Magee, said the governor ‘didn’t take an actual position one way or the other.”

McCulloch said in a statement Nixon must “end this distraction” or risk a delay in resolving the investigation.

A grand jury began considering evidence this week to determine whether the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, should be charged. Magee said there was no timeline for the process, but it could take weeks.

Federal authorities have also launched an independent investigation into Brown’s death, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told The Associated Press that all of the physical evidence from the case was being flown Thursday from St. Louis to the FBI forensics lab in Quantico, Virginia. The evidence includes shell casings and trajectories, blood patterns and clothing, the Missouri Democrat said.

“The only thing you have to test the credibility of eyewitnesses to a shooting like this is in fact the physical evidence,” McCaskill said. “I’m hopeful the forensic evidence will be clear and will shed a lot more light on what the facts were.”

McCaskill also announced that next month she will lead a Senate hearing to look into the militarization of local police departments after criticism of the earlier law enforcement response to the protests in Ferguson.

Nixon Withdrawing National Guard from Ferguson
August 21, 2014

(AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon says his decision to draw down the Missouri National Guard in Ferguson follows progress in stemming upheaval in the St. Louis suburb since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.

Nixon tells KMOX-AM that “the last two nights have been really good” in the suburb that had been the center of nightly racial unrest since Michael Brown was killed Aug. 9.

The white officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, is on administrative leave and has not been charged.

Nixon announced what he called a systematic withdrawal of Guard officers on Thursday. He says they’ve effectively protected the city while other agencies worked to restore trust between law enforcement and residents.

Authorities have arrested at least 163 people in the protest area since Brown’s death.

US AG Holder Talks of His Contacts with Police, Ferguson Has Calm Night
August 21, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) – To reassure the people of Ferguson, Attorney General Eric Holder reached into his own past, recalling the times he had been stopped by police officers who seemed to target him because of his race.

On a visit to the St. Louis suburb that has endured more than a week of unrest, Holder sought to build confidence in the investigation into the death of the black 18-year-old who was shot by a white officer. The trip also underscored the priority to the Obama administration of civil rights in general and the Michael Brown case in particular.

The attorney general said Wednesday that he understands why many black Americans do not trust police and that he has experienced many of the same frustrations. He described being stopped twice on the New Jersey Turnpike and accused of speeding. Police searched his car, looking through the trunk and under the seats.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said during a meeting with about 50 community leaders at the Florissant campus of St. Louis Community College.

Once while living in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, Holder was running to catch a movie with his cousin when a squad car rolled up and flashed its lights at the pair. The officer yelled, “Where are you going? Hold it!” Holder recalled.

His cousin “started mouthing off,” and Holder urged him to be quiet.

“We negotiate the whole thing, and we walk to our movie. At the time that he stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. I wasn’t a kid,” he said.

Holder also met with federal officials investigating Brown’s Aug. 9 death and with Brown’s parents. Before getting briefed at the local FBI headquarters, he said he hoped the visit would “have a calming influence” on the area.

In addition, the attorney general met briefly with Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who has been in charge of security in Ferguson for nearly a week. The National Guard is also helping to keep the peace.

Asked whether he had confidence in the local investigation of the police officer, Johnson said Holder’s presence “is a guarantee on that.”

In nearby Clayton, a grand jury began hearing evidence to determine whether the officer, Darren Wilson, should be charged in Brown’s death. A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said there was no timeline for the process, but it could take weeks.

Outside the St. Louis County Justice Center, where the grand jury convened, two dozen protesters gathered in a circle for a prayer, chanted and held signs urging McCulloch to step aside.

McCulloch’s deep family connections to police have been cited by some black leaders who question his ability to be impartial in the case. 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.

The prosecutor, who is white, has insisted his background will have no bearing on the handling of the Brown case, which has touched off days of protests that have sometimes turned violent at night, when authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the streets.

On Wednesday, police said an officer had been suspended for pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at demonstrators, then cursing and threatening to kill one of them. A protester captured the exchange on video Tuesday and posted it to YouTube and other websites.

Some protesters returned to the streets Wednesday evening but in diminished numbers. They marched around a single block as a thunderstorm filled the sky with lightning and dumped rain. Police still stood guard, but many wore regular uniforms rather than riot gear.

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