Sadik Kukic says the situation is “better than six months ago,” when 32-year-old Zemir Begic was beaten to death in a hammer attack.
“We arrest criminals and they say ‘I’m not worried about it. I got paper. I got probation the first time, and I’ll get paper the second time,'” complained a frustrated Police Chief Sam Dotson.
The federal prosecutor in St. Louis comes to the rescue of state prosecutors frustrated with Missouri’s gun laws.
Dotson says a lack of help for those dealing with issues that lead to crime are leaving police alone on the front lines.
The goal, says U.S. Attorney for Southern Illinois Steve Wigginton, is to send a message to the street.
“It doesn’t make sense to me to let somebody out early on a gun crime, and I think we have to take a tougher approach to that,” Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce says.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says at least some judges are hearing his concerns – stricter sentences for violent offenders is what he wants to see.
Jim Whyte, of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative, says he could give example after example of what they’re up against.
“Life has changed in the St. Louis region, and I think, throughout the entire country since Ferguson,” Slay says. “What’s happened here has been horrendous.”
“The first question is, should I be scared? And the answer is no, don’t be scared, be alert,” says Missy Kelley of Downtown STL Inc.