MO police chief jailed, Schmitt seeks email, internet speeds


Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.

When was the last time you heard of a police chief hit with felony drug trafficking charges?

When was the last time you heard of a police chief hit with felony drug trafficking charges?


Police chief booked on trafficking charges

The line between lawbreakers and law enforcement is supposed to be pretty bright. But that ideal took a punch to the nose this week in the small town of Louisiana, Missouri, about 80 miles from St. Louis. There, Police Chief William Jones was booked into jail on charges of felony drug trafficking along with his girlfriend on Wednesday. The night before, police had arrived at Jones’ apartment to find two of his girlfriend’s brothers had overdosed. One was pronounced dead. The other, 21 years old, was revived by an emergency dose of naloxone and survived. Bail was set for the chief, who is now on leave, at $150,000. He’d been the top cop in the Pike County town since late 2020.

“We were blindsided by this,” said Rodney Dolbeare, a member of the Louisiana City Council. Ya think?

Eric Schmitt requests Missouri professor’s emails

We find it odd that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent five requests for emails of a Missouri State University professor who dared criticize the GOP candidate for US Senator, as recently reported in The Missouri Independent. But we’re not surprised.

The news followed revelations that Schmitt had issued open records requests in June for years of emails from professors in the medicine and journalism schools at the University of Missouri.

A few days after Turner blasted Schmitt on Twitter for being a “dangerous, hateful political jellyfish” and “anti-teacher” for suing school districts over mask mandates, Turner’s emails from the previous 90 days were sought by the AG’s office, according to The Independent.

This looks an awful lot like a powerful government official using his office to investigate personal critics. Apparently dissent will not be tolerated under Schmitt’s would-be authoritarian rule. Anyone who works for the state or a local government and who criticizes Schmitt should be forewarned: Either keep quiet or you will face the wrath of the state’s attorney general. Hogwash.

Turner, a former educator, used his right to free speech to criticize Schmitt’s performance on the job. The multiple requests for the records of MSU associate professor Jon Turner were meant to “intimidate,” Turner told The Independent.

Those darn emails. What is the GOP’s fascination with emails?

Broadband speeds redlined by income levels?

A new report from a nonprofit newsroom called The Markup is a reminder that low-cost, high-quality internet service is not just an issue in rural areas.

Reporters analyzed 800,000 offers from internet service providers in 38 cities, including Kansas City. They found providers routinely charge poorer customers the same amount as those in wealthier neighborhoods, while providing drastically slower internet speeds.

We know. Shocking.

“Historically redlined areas disproportionately received slow internet speeds in Kansas City,” the report says. The fastest speeds were available along State Line Road, south of the Plaza; the slowest speeds were found east of Troost Avenue and in northeast Kansas City.

Internet providers, including AT&T, disputed the findings in the report as “fundamentally flawed.” They said slower speeds are the result of older infrastructure, and say federal subsidies for faster internet service are available in some less wealthy communities.

We wish we had a nickel for every time a politician has trumpeted the need for improved “rural broadband” service, paid for by taxpayers, of course. The logic is clear: High speed internet isn’t a luxury. It’s essential in the 21st century.

The Markup has offered an important reminder: Fast internet is just as essential in the urban core as it is in the countryside. Washington must do more to make sure everyone has access to reasonably-priced, high-speed internet service, no matter where they live, or how much money they make.

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