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Chappelle-Nadal urges Gov. Nixon to resign or be impeached

Demonstrators disrupt state Senate opening January 8, 2015 at 5:00 a.m. | Updated January 8, 2015 at 5:00 a.m.
A group of protesters carried a number of signs and two large cardboard boxes representing coffins as they marched toward the Missouri Capitol Wednesday. They later held a rally in the first floor Rotunda where they demanded legislators be held accountable for their votes and the crowd was told to vote them out if they don't. During the rally, reverands Shawn Jones and Tex Sample talked about the importance Medicaid expansion to serve the under and non-served people of the state.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, on Wednesday afternoon introduced a six-page remonstrance urging fellow Democrat Jay Nixon to resign from the governor's office "immediately" - or face impeachment by the Missouri House.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said the governor's staff was aware of the proposal, but declined to comment about it.

Gallery: The Nutcracker

Her remonstrance was introduced in the Senate - in the same process used to introduce a bill - about three hours after demonstrators disrupted the state Senate's opening day festivities.

The disruption delayed the swearing-in ceremonies for the 17 senators elected Nov. 4. For the second time in eight months, officials closed the Senate's Upper Gallery and locked the doors so visitors could not observe the Senate's business for the rest of the day.

The demonstration began about eight minutes after the Senate had started its first day of the 2015 legislative session.

The demonstrators' chants included cries of "No justice, no peace," "Black lives matter," "All lives matter," "Police state" and "This is what democracy looks like."

The demonstrators also had drums in the hallways, beating a cadence the chanters followed.

Several of the demonstrators also held banners and signs carrying similar messages.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, presiding over the session, warned the demonstrators their actions violated the Senate's rules, then ordered the banners, signs and protesters removed.

The chants began after Kinder's first order to remove the demonstrators, and the Senate halted its business.

"You have rudely inserted yourselves into a solemn proceeding, that proceeds according to rules," the lieutenant governor told the protesters, shortly before ordering the upper gallery cleared.

The Senate then temporarily suspended another rule - that prohibits visitors from standing on the Senate's floor while senators are in-session - so the lawmakers' family members and guests could continue to watch the ceremonies they'd been invited to attend.

Chappelle-Nadal and Mid-Missouri's three senators all said Americans have a free-speech right to comment and demonstrate on issues, but Wednesday's protesters crossed the line when they violated the Senate's rules.

Her remonstrance - a formal grievance entered into the Legislature's official record, that eventually could be voted on by the full Senate - cited more than two dozen issues Chappelle-Nadal has with Nixon's leadership and his 30-year career as a state senator and attorney general.

Chappelle-Nadal and Nixon have disagreed on a number of issues over the years, but her public complaints have been strongly worded since teenager Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

In the remonstrance, she complained that "during his numerous years as an elected official, Mr. Nixon has consistently exhibited a prideful disengagement from African American issues as well as an extraordinary level of personal disdain for African American concerns."

She noted that, as attorney general, Nixon had filed a motion with the federal court "to end the St. Louis school desegregation program under which Black students from the city (of St. Louis) were bused to county school districts, an action which sought to re-segregate and make permanent the St. Louis area public schools' lack of equality" and that the resulting segregation and unequal nature of the St. Louis public schools is a root cause of the civil unrest in Ferguson.

Chappelle-Nadal said the governor's failure to deploy National Guard troops as he promised allowed some demonstrators to destroy businesses and other buildings in Ferguson and Dellwood.

The remonstrance said: "If Mr. Nixon fails to resign, the Missouri House of Representatives should strongly consider impeaching the Governor for willful neglect of duty and incompetence, as the great state of Missouri cannot afford to bear the costs of his failed leadership."

This article updates previous coverage posted on Wednesday.


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