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Activist Groups Rally Against Local Control

The side of a St. Louis Metropolitan Police patrol vehicle.
St. Louis Public Radio | File Photo
The side of a St. Louis Metropolitan Police patrol vehicle.

Proposition A, the state ballot measure to hand control of the St. Louis Police Department back to the city has come under fire from local activists.

A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP is urging Missouri voters not to vote for Prop A on the grounds that language establishing a citizen oversight board and open access to police records has been stricken from the bill.   

Montague Simmons is a spokesman for the group.  He says they support local control, but not at the expense of accountability.

“This language specifically limits the level of transparency and in the long its gong to limit our ability to hold the police department accountable,” Simmons says.

Simmons cited the 2006 case of Police officers confiscating scalped Cardinals World Series tickets and then giving them to family members.

Jeff Rainford is the Chief of Staff for Mayor Francis Slay. He says most citizens are concerned about the department’s ability to fight crime, not citizen oversight, and claims that Prop A directly addresses that issue directly.

“We’re not hearing a clamoring from our citizens for a citizen review board,” Rainford says. “What we’re hearing from our citizens is ‘what are you doing to make our neighborhoods safe?’ This proposition was written with that as the number-one goal.”

If passed, Prop A would allow St. Louis to assume control of the department after July 1, 2013.

Follow Adam Allington on Twitter:  @aallington