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Alderman John Collins Muhammad resigns, under federal investigation says a source

A source tells 5 On Your Side the alderman is under investigation for bribery.

ST. LOUIS — John Collins-Muhammad Jr. is resigning as alderman of St. Louis' 21st Ward effective Thursday, citing "mistakes" he has made that he will "take full responsibility for."

A source tells 5 On Your Side's Christine Byers that Alderman Collins-Muhammad is under federal investigation for bribery.

Collins-Muhammad announced his resignation Wednesday via Twitter, sharing a screenshot of a resignation letter addressed to Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed.

"I have made mistakes and I take full responsibility for those mistakes and I am forever sincerely grateful to the residents of the 21st Ward for allowing me this most extraordinary opportunity," he wrote in the letter. "I am resigning from my office, not from my community."

Collins-Muhammad did not elaborate on the reason for his resignation.

"I think that indicates that something more is happening here, but we're not sure what," 5 On Your Side Political Analyst Anita Manion said.

A political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Manion said this marks the third city alderman to resign this year, though Collins-Muhammah's statement differed from the two prior.

"To my knowledge, nobody saw this coming," she said. "It wouldn't be surprising if he said he was resigning because he was taking another position or something like that, but I think the nature of the announcement also makes it puzzling and surprising."

Heather Navarro resigned as 28th Ward alderman in January to take a job at Washington University. In April, 11th Ward Alderman Sarah Wood Martin resigned, citing the passing of Proposition R, which tightened conflict-of-interest rules for aldermen.

According to Collins-Muhammad's website, he was the youngest person and first Muslim ever to be elected to the St. Louis Board of Alderman when he was elected to Ward 21 in 2017.

"The weeks ahead will be tough. I ask for continued prayers for myself and my family. I apologize to my family and to my constituents for my shortcomings and my mistakes," he wrote in his post about his resignation.

In 2019, Collins-Muhammad was arrested after an officer pulled him over for speeding and discovered he had four St. Louis City bench warrants and five traffic warrants. He was arrested for the outstanding warrants and issued citations for speeding, driving without a seatbelt and driving with a revoked license. He had been previously arrested in 2018 on outstanding warrants following a north St. Louis car crash.

Ward 21 covers parts of the College Hill, Kingsway East, North Riverfront, O'Fallon and Penrose neighborhoods.

5 On Your Side has reached out to Collins Muhammad for comment but has not immediately received a response.


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