St. Louis, LA – The St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed a lawsuit on Monday that accused the city of St. Louis, the police union, and several others of a coordinated, racist conspiracy to run her out of office.
Gardner, the city’s first black prosecutor, has alleged in her lawsuit that there is a racist effort in the works to block her reform agenda, St. Louis Public Radio reported.
“Gardner was elected in 2016 on a promise to redress the scourge of historical inequality and rebuild trust in the criminal justice system among communities of color,” the lawsuit read. “Unfortunately, entrenched interests in St. Louis … have mobilized to thwart these efforts through a broad campaign of collusive conduct” to run the circuit attorney out of office.
The prosecutor’s office has been a mess since the Gardner took office two-and-a-half years ago.
More than 65 prosecutors have left the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office since Gardner took office - a turnover rate of more than 100 percent.
Some attorneys quit and others were fired, but they took with them a combined 470 years of prosecutorial experience, leaving the office in really bad shape, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Gardner, who is notoriously anti-police, has tried to deflect criticism of her management of the prosecutor’s office by complaining the police department has failed to solve enough murders and retweeting criticism of officers.
She has said she is committed to creating “a more accountable criminal justice system,” and that she will “continue to hold people accountable regardless of their occupation and position in life,” The St. Louis American reported.
The lawsuit filed on Jan. 12 stems from Gardner’s prosecution of then-Missouri Governor Eric Greitens in 2018, St. Louis Public Radio reported.
Gardner hired an investigator named William Tisaby to verify accusations that the governor had taken semi-naked pictures of his lover and transmitted them electronically.
She ended up dropping the charges against Greitens after questions were raised about her investigator’s conduct during the investigation, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
Police asked the judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of perjury against Tisaby.
St. Louis attorney Gerard Carmody took the case to a grand jury and Tisaby was indicted on seven counts of perjury and evidence tampering, St. Louis Public Radio reported.
Tisaby pleaded not guilty and that case is ongoing.
Gardner’s lawsuit claimed that the police department dragged their feet about investigating threats the prosecutor’s office received while she was prosecuting the governor, according to St. Louis public radio.
The suit alleged that the defendants “have conspired for the purpose of impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating the due course of justice, with the intent to injure Gardner or her property for lawfully enforcing and/or attempting to enforce the rights of all persons within the City of St. Louis to equal protection of the laws.”
The suit claimed that the special prosecutor who was appointed to investigate Tisaby and his law firm had numerous connections to law enforcement and Gardner’s 2016 opponents, St. Louis Public Radio reported.
Gardner’s attorneys claimed the police union and others "have mobilized to thwart these efforts" to change historic racial inequality in the city’s criminal justice system, the Associated Press reported.
The lawsuit pointed to "the unprecedented appointment of a white, ethically conflicted Special Prosecutor" which her attorneys have argued was appointed solely to oust Gardner.
Gardner’s lawsuit is seeking monetary damages and asked the court to stop the defendants from “violating Gardner’s civil rights,” St. Louis Public Radio reported.
"This is about the will of the people being silenced by a concerted effort to stop reform in the city of St. Louis, and this has to be addressed," Gardner told the Associated Press.
"This is saying, 'No more are we going to let the powerful few who want to hold onto the status quo prevent an elected prosecutor from doing her job,'" the embattled prosecutor said.
Mothers Against Police Brutality was picking up the tab for Gardner’s litigation, St. Louis Public Radio reported.