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.

McCaskill: Love NASCAR but Guard Sponsorship Didn’t Work
August 7, 2014

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who raised questions about the amount of money the National Guard was spending on NASCAR sponsorships, reacted to the news the Gyard is dropping it’s NASCAR sponsorships (see previous post)
“”I’m a NASCAR fan, and I love the National Guard—but spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a recruitment program that signed up zero recruits, and that has been abandoned by other service branches as ineffective, just makes no sense,” McCaskill said in a news release.

NASCAR Drops National Guard Sponsorships, Gets No Recruits, McCaskill questioned Program
August 7, 2014

Washington Post via Johncombest.com

Pay $26.5 million to plaster a brand name on a racecar. Let 75 million people watch it go around a track thousands of times per year.

This was the strategy deployed by the National Guard — and it earned them zero recruits.

Now, the Weekend Warriors are breaking up with their $32 million dollar man — NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. It’s also ending a $12 million sponsorship deal with driver Graham Rahal.

“Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business,” Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard, said in a press release.

The “significantly constrained resources” may be due to Senate hearings on the Guard’s profligate spending convened earlier this year. USA Today reported the Guard spent $26.5 million to sponsor NASCAR in 2012, “but failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks,” according to Senate documents. Between 2011 and 2013, the Guard spent $88 million, but “it is unclear how many new recruits, if any, signed up because of it.”

“How can you justify the fact that nobody is getting recruited?” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in hearings. “The facts speak for themselves. The data is very clear. You’re not getting recruits off of NASCAR.”

Even worse, the other branches of the military seem to already know that NASCAR isn’t the most fertile recruiting ground.

“The Army, the Navy, the Marines and the Coast Guard all canceled their sponsorships with NASCAR due to cost, ineffectiveness and difficulty in measuring results,” according to a Senate document. “The Army specifically stated that NASCAR was declining against the Army’s core target audience and that NASCAR sponsorship had the highest cost per engagement in the Army’s portfolio of sponsorships — three times the next highest program.”
More:http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/08/07/national-guard-dumps-dale-earnhardt-jr/

Video: McCaskill Introduces Missourian Kevin O’Malley to Be Nest US Envoy to Ireland
July 15, 2014

McCaskill Says Universities Lack in Sexual Assault Prevention
July 10, 2014

(AP) — A survey of colleges and universities finds a lack of coordination between many campuses and local law enforcement in handling sexual assaults, and that many schools have gone years without investigating such cases.

About 40 percent of colleges and universities reported not having conducted a sexual assault investigation in the past five years, including 6 percent of the nation’s largest public institutions. More than 20 percent of large, private schools conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents reported to the Education Department.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a former prosecutor whose office conducted the survey, said parents and taxpayers should be concerned about the number of investigations.

“On first blush, a parent would think that’s good, they don’t have a problem with sexual assault on their campus, but it’s not good, it’s very bad because that means they are either in denial or incompetent,” McCaskill said.

Federal law requires every institution that knows about a sexual violence incident to investigate, she noted. She said schools should investigate even if the end result is that the victim isn’t participating and there’s no corroboration. Under some estimates, 1 in 5 college females is assaulted.

The prevalence of sexual assaults on college campuses took on new focus in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State and after a high-profile battle on Capitol Hill about military sexual assault led college campus assault victims to demand the same attention.

Meanwhile, the Education Department and a White House task force on campus sexual assault have taken a series of steps to draw attention to the treatment of sexual assault victims and force campuses to address the problem.

In Congress, McCaskill is part of a group of senators exploring ways to address the issue legislatively. She said the survey was needed so they had a better grasp of how campuses handle such cases.

McCaskill said the senators are looking at ways to empower victims, simplify laws and rules colleges and universities follow and find ways that campuses and local authorities can better coordinate. She chairs a subcommittee with jurisdiction over Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at institutions receiving federal funds.

Ada Meloy, general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents college presidents, said if victims want to maintain confidentiality, it is “extremely difficult to conduct an investigation.” She said many college officials want to work more with local authorities, but local authorities are hesitant to take such cases because they are difficult to successfully prosecute.

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