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Morning headlines - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis police express concerns with cameras in patrol cars

Officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are seeking ways to avoid driving patrol cars equipped with cameras over concerns that footage from the cameras is being used against them.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained emailed that show officers are worried that the cameras make them vulnerable to second-guessing.

Two probationary officers were fired earlier this year, even though video footage exonerated them against claims they planted drug guns and drugs on the teen. That's because the same footage also revealed that one officer struck the handcuffed teen.

A union grievance says the department should have taken into consideration that the teen pointed a gun at one of the officers, and asks that the two be rehired.

About half of the city's 300 patrol cars are equipped with cameras.

Arrest made in animal abuse case

Updated 4:23 p.m. with name of person arrested:  From the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office:

"Darick Stallworth has been charged with three counts of animal abuse and two counts of 1st degree animal neglect."

Here's a link to the probable cause statement related to the case.

Original Story:

St. Louis police have arrested a suspect in an animal abuse case in north St. Louis.

The 31-year-old male was taken into custody yesterday afternoon. Police will seek charges against him today.

Investigators found the body of five dogs in a house at near Martin Luther King and Union Blvds. on May 15. They had all been tortured.

The non-profit Stray Rescue offered a five thousand dollar reward, which doubled with donations. The police department’s Facebook and Twitter pages thanks individuals who came forward with information.

Earthquake strikes southeast Missouri

There are no reports of damage or injuries after a minor earthquake in rural southeastern Missouri.

The US Geological Service says the quake struck shortly after 5 p.m. Monday. It had a preliminary magnitude of 2.9 – roughly the smallest quake that can be felt by people.

The quake was centered about 17 miles north of Poplar Bluff. Several people in the region told KFVS-TV their homes shook slightly.

Quinn urges lawmakers to stay focused on pension, Medicaid reforms

Reporting from Brian Mackey in Springfield was used in this story.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is urging lawmakers to keep a laser focus of reforms to the state's Medicaid and state employee pension programs as they enter the last two weeks of the regular legislative session.

"This is not a time for delay or denial or doing nothing," the Democrat said. "Nothing is really the enemy of reform. We must act. We must take on those who want to have inertia. That won't succeed at making Illinois a better state."

Quinn says that means lawmakers cannot get "distracted by shiny objects" like gambling expansion, which some legislators say could help lessen the bite of some Medicaid and pension cuts.

Quinn last year threatened to veto a measure last year that would have increased the number of casinos in the state and allowed slot machines at race tracks, though he's backed off complete opposition to the measure in recent days.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.