Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner, the first Black woman elected to her office, filed a federal civil right lawsuit accusing city lawmakers of a racist conspiracy.
Her lawsuit claims coordination between police and special prosecutors to impede her reform efforts. The defendants most notably include the city of St. Louis and the St. Louis Police Officers Association. Additionally, it includes the SLPOA’s business manager Jeff Roorda as well as the special prosecutor investigating her office.
Gerard Carmody was appointed to investigate Gardner’s handling of the investigation of former Governor Eric Greitens.
Greitens stands accused of assault and attempted blackmail. However, Gardner’s office also alleges Greitens’s legal team made threats to her subordinates.
As a result of Gardner’s pursuit of Greitens, a special prosecutor, William Tisaby, was appointed. However, Tisaby became compromised after claims of perjury and evidence tampering surfaced. Now, another special prosecutor, Carmody, investigates Tisaby as well as Gardner.
During the course of Carmody’s investigation, Gardner alleges the prosecutor engaged in “patently overbroad and unconstitutional ransacking of the office’s electronic files.”
She also cites misconduct on the part of city police officers, suggesting a broader racist conspiracy to thwart reform. Examples include the lack of adequate disciplinary action against white cops’ racist social media posts from 2019. The suit also mentions the beating of an undercover Black officer during a protest. The officers responsible engaged in a coverup subsequent to the beating. And, of course, the shadow of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson still hangs over the region.
Progressive Prosecutors Rally Against Alleged Racist Conspiracy by Lawmakers
Gardner wants to improve investigations of police conduct. Gardner is part of a broader movement of progressive prosecutors across the country attempting to make changes to the justice system. Their agenda includes greater police accountability, starting Conviction Integrity Units to review past cases for mishandling, and reducing jail populations.
As a result, local police organizations oppose many of these elected officials.
A collection of other progressive prosecutors visited St. Louis Tuesday to voice support for Gardner.