A progressive group gathered petitions to put the issue before voters. The Board of Aldermen went on record 18-8 against it, with Black aldermen opposed and the progressive bloc generally for it. Spencer voted “present.”
Jones endorsed it. The plan easily passed in the city, losing only in north side wards.
Whoever emerges the winner will become the city’s 47th mayor.
The year 2020 was barely 20 minutes old when St. Louis police found two men shot to death in a car near Benton Park. “It was every caliber going off,” said a neighbor who has learned to distinguish such things.
On Jan. 2, the toll rose to five killed by gunfire. The year 2019 had ended with 194 homicides, the second-highest of the decade. January was a bad start for another bloody year.
As 2020 comes to an end, there have been 251 homicides in the city, rivaling the record of 267 killings in 1993 during the “crack wars,” when the city population was almost 20% larger.
There were 53 killings in July, a record for that month. As bodies accumulated, members of law enforcement, university faculties, social agencies and activist groups offered theories — job losses due to COVID, too many guns and drug deals, overworked police, inadequate prosecution, rising homicide rates nationwide, racism, disrespect for life. St. Louis police Chief John Hayden ascribed to a “perfect storm” of factors.