(Mountain Home) – The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office will hold a public auction March 30 at 10:00 AM at the east door of the Baxter County Court House in Mountain Home.
The auction is for a lot of land in Red Apple Acres in Gassville, and the house will go to the highest bidder.
For more information, call the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office at 870-425-7000.
by Eric Tucker, AP
(Washington) (AP) – The federal investigation of the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, is expected to allege patterns of racial bias in the city’s mostly white department. But the probe, nearing release, is likely to stop short of charging the officer whose shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old touched off weeks of protests
The Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown led to two separate federal investigations: one looking at whether criminal charges should be brought against Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot the black teenager, and the other a broader examination of the city’s police department.
The results are expected to be made public in the coming days as Attorney General Eric Holder, who has made civil rights a cornerstone of his six-year tenure, prepares to leave the Justice Department.
Here’s a look at where things stand:
THE FERGUSON POLICE DEPARTMENT
Holder has repeatedly signaled that federal officials have identified problems with the Ferguson Police Department. He’s said the agency was in need of “wholesale change” and that “deep mistrust” had taken hold between law enforcement and members of the community.
The federal investigation is focused on police use of force as well as stops, searches and arrests of suspects and the treatment of inmates at the city jail.
One sign of concern was a 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general’s office that found police were far more likely to stop and search black drivers than white motorists, though they were less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.
The Justice Department has undertaken roughly 20 similar investigations nationwide under Holder’s tenure, usually for allegations including patterns of excessive force and discrimination.
These investigations usually turn up substantial problems, and the Ferguson probe is expected to be no different.
The Newark, New Jersey, police department consented to an independent monitor last year after a federal report found officers used excessive force, routinely stopped people on the street without legitimate reason and stole property from civilians. The city of Cleveland is currently in negotiations with the Justice Department following a scathing report that found problems with record-keeping, accountability and the way use-of-force incidents are investigated.
Most such cases end with police departments committing to make changes, though the Justice Department can take cities to court if they don’t commit to reforms.
THE POLICE OFFICER
The Justice Department is not expected to criminally charge Wilson.
To bring such a case, federal authorities would need to show that Wilson – who was cleared by a state grand jury in November – willfully deprived Brown of his civil rights by knowingly using more force than the law allowed.
That’s historically a heavy burden for prosecutors, particularly in shootings that occur during fast-unfolding encounters in which a police officer can reasonably claim that deadly force was needed to stop an imminent threat.
Wilson told a state grand jury that he feared for his life during the confrontation, which began after he directed Brown and a friend who were walking in the street to move to the sidewalk.
During a struggle, Wilson said Brown reached inside the driver’s-side window of his patrol car, struck him in the face and reached for his service weapon. Brown ran, and Wilson said he shot at him after the teenager charged at him. Some witnesses said Brown never posed a threat and was standing with his hands up before he was shot.
A grand jury cleared Wilson of wrongdoing, and he resigned days later.
The shooting touched off weeks of “hands up, don’t shoot” protests in the streets of Ferguson and other cities. Along with the police chokehold death of a New York City man suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes and the December killings of two New York police officers, the Ferguson case became part of a national conversation about race and policing.
The Missouri shooting and its aftermath also focused attention on how police departments use military surplus equipment and on whether more training is needed to help officers de-escalate situations. It accelerated a push for the use of body cameras by police departments nationwide and led to brainstorming discussions about how to build trust between officers and their communities.
President Barack Obama said Monday at the White House that the deaths of Brown and of Eric Garner in New York City exposed “deep rooted frustration in many communities of color around the need for fair and just law enforcement.” He spoke of a need for more cooperation, and a task force that he appointed is recommending more police training and better data collection on deadly force.
Holder, too, has called for more complete record keeping, including how often officers are themselves shot at.
FBI Director James Comey, in a blunt speech last month on race and law enforcement, said police officers may be informed by unconscious biases. He said, “We must better understand the people we serve and protect, by trying to know deep in our gut what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking down the street and encountering law enforcement.”
by Nedra Pickler and Eric Tucker, AP
(Washington) (AP) – President Barack Obama said Monday that the deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York show that law enforcement needs to change practices to build trust in minority communities, with a White House task force recommending independent outside investigations when police use deadly force.
The president said the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City exposed “deep rooted frustration in many communities of color around the need for fair and just law enforcement.” He said a policing task force that he appointed found it’s important for police and the communities they cover to improve cooperation.
“The moment is now for us to make these changes,” Obama said from the White House during a meeting with members of the task force, who worked for three months to develop the recommendations. “We have a great opportunity coming out of some great conflict and tragedy to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations so that everybody feels safer and our law enforcement officers feel – rather than being embattled – feel fully supported. We need to seize that opportunity.”
Obama said the task force found great interest in developing best practices for police training to reduce bias and help officers deal with stressful situations. He recognized a particularly controversial recommendation would be the need for independent investigations in fatal police shootings.
“The importance of making sure that there’s a sense of accountability when in fact law enforcement is involved in a deadly shooting is something that I think communities across the board are going to be considering,” Obama said.
The task force echoed calls from officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey for more complete record-keeping about the numbers of police-involved shootings across the country. Such data is currently reported by local law enforcement on a voluntary basis, and there is no central or reliable repository for those statistics.
“There’s no reason for us not to have this data available,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, a co-chair, who said he was surprised to learn that there were no reliable records kept. “Now that we know that this does not exist, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to develop that information.”
The task force held seven public hearings that included testimony from more than 100 people. The panel also met with leaders of groups advocating for the rights of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, veterans, gays, the disabled and others.
Laurie Robinson, a professor at George Mason University and co-chair of the task force, told reporters the type of community-police relations envisioned by the report does not happen quickly.
“It takes time, it takes relationship-building and it doesn’t happen overnight,” she said.
(Branson) – The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) approved $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to assist Taney County construct 24 apartments for people with developmental disabilities.
Using CDBG funds, Taney County will acquire land on which to construct 18 one bedroom units and six two bedroom units that will be 100 percent special needs priority. The 24-unit apartment building will be next to the Taney County Developmental Connections offices. Missouri Housing Development Low Income Tax Credits will be used for the construction of the apartments.
The CDBG program, administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, provides grants and loan funds to cities with a population under 50,000 and counties under 200,000 to assist in a variety of public works and economic development projects.
(Mountain Home) – The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) will be coming to Mountain Home along with EZ Loader Custom Boat Trailers, Inc. to host a “Power Luncheon” for individuals interested in what plans are being made to help plan for our futures.
Mr. Thom Dammrick and his staff, as well as other officials, will meet with marine industry business owners, principals, and officials in a town hall type meeting called the NMMA 2015 Boating Power Luncheon Connection. They are inviting over 100 marine boat builders, retail dealers, and business associates to this Power Luncheon on March 3, 2015 at the Big Creek Golf and Country Club.
Highlights of the luncheon will include the state of recreational boating industry and government relations, NMMA certification, member programs and resources, and open discussions affecting your marine business.
Please RSVP to join this event to 312-946-6280 at NMMA. Lunch will be served at 12:15 with the program to follow in the Big Creek Golf and Country Club Dining Room: 425 Country Club Drive. For directions, call EZ Loader: 870-481-5138.
(Tyrone) (AP) – Relatives will begin burying victims of a southern Missouri shooting spree this week.
Thirty-six-year-old Joseph Jesse Aldridge killed seven people late Thursday in four homes in the unincorporated town of Tyrone before killing himself.
Elliott-Gentry Funeral Home says services are planned for Thursday morning at the First General Baptist Church in Willow Springs for 52-year-old Garold Dee Aldridge, 47-year-old Julie Ann Aldridge, 50-year-old Harold Wayne Aldridge and 48-year-old Janell Arlisa Aldridge.
Arrangements are pending for 68-year-old Darrell Dean Shriver, 46-year-old Carey Dean Shriver and 44-year-old Valirea Love Shriver while a wounded relative recovers.
Bradford Funeral Home owner Doyle Bradford says relatives are planning a private service for Joseph Aldridge and his 74-year-old mother, Alice. She died of natural causes and was found in a home she shared with her son.
(Mammoth Spring) – A Mammoth Spring man faces rape charges after police say he had sex with a 13-year-old multiple times.
KAIT reports that 18-year-old Jacob Richardson was arrested last week and charged with 5 counts of rape. According to a police report, investigators interviewed the victim on January 20, and the victim said she had sex with Richardson a number of times between November 2014 and January 2015.
They later questioned Richardson, who allegedly corroborated the story and told police that he had sex with the girl multiple times, even after finding out she was underage.
At report time, Richardson was held in the Fulton County Jail.
(Salem) – A Missouri man faces felony gambling charges in Arkansas after police say slot machines were found operating in buildings that he owned.
KAIT-TV reports 71-year-old Doresy Williamson of Thayer was arrested after the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office served search warrants at 2 buildings on February 4. Officers found 6 slot machines during the search.
On Thursday, Williamson was arrested by the sheriff’s office and charged with felony operation of an illegal gambling house. He was also charged with 6 misdemeanor counts of gambling devices in a building.
At report time, Williamson was held on $5,000 bond, and he is scheduled to appear in circuit court on March 12.
(Texas County) – Eight Texas County residents suffered minor injuries Saturday in three separate accidents.
The first accident happened in Wright County just after 10:30 AM, when a westbound SUV driven by 46-year-old Kevin Stilley of Houston ran off-road after losing control on a snow-covered section of Highway 60 near Highway 5 South in Wright County. The vehicle then hit an embankment and overturned. Stilley and three passengers were taken to Cox Hosptial in Springfield.
The second accident happened at 1:08 PM on Highway 63 at Twin Bridges in Houston, when the southbound vehicle driven by 17-year-old Jared Lily of Licking was stopped in the roadway due to another vehicle. Lily’s van was then rear-ended by an SUV driven by 28-year-old Diannah Scott of Licking. Lily, a passenger in his vehicle, and an 8-year-old child in Scott’s vehicle were all taken to Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston to be treated for minor injuries.
The third accident happened at 1:15 PM in Howell County on Highway 63 just south of Pomona, when the northbound vehicle driven by60-year-old Janice Pearson of Cabool slid off-road and struck a snow embankment in the medial. Pearson sought her own treatment.
(Jefferson City) – Missouri Senators continue to work on Bill 174, which would create the “Missouri Achieving a Better Life Experience Program”. Bill sponsor Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) discusses the bill, which he says would create a tax-deductible savings account to help families with medical expenses:
Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) sponsors Senate Bill 82, which would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to strongly encourage all long-term care facilities to institute policies that will facilitate familial involvement in the well-being and support of its residents:
Both bills received first-round approval last week.