St. Louis County police arrest blacks without warrants, lawsuit alleges

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in St. Louis says that St. Louis County police arrest residents without warrants, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
News Story (Missouri)

Jacob Kirn
St. Louis Business Journal
February 25, 2016

Tags: Court Debt, Criminal Justice, Due Process, Fines and Fees

Organizations mentioned/involved: ArchCity Defenders (St. Louis)


The suit, filed by lawyers with nonprofit legal aid group ArchCity Defenders on behalf of 31-year-old Dwayne Furlow, an African-American, describes that practice as a “warrantless arrest procedure” called a “wanted.” It lists St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, St. Louis County and a St. Louis County police officer called only “Walsh” as defendants.


he suit, which seeks class-action status, cites the U.S. Department of Justice’s March 2015 report on the Ferguson Police Department, which said that law enforcement in the county uses the system of “wanteds” as a substitute for seeking judicial approval for an arrest warrant.

“It’s obviously more widespread than just Ferguson and St. Louis County. It’s a region-wide practice,” Thomas Harvey, executive director at ArchCity Defenders, said in an interview. He added that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department also uses the “wanteds” system, which has been in existence in Missouri for many years.