Democratic St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who is infamous for her reluctance to prosecute rioting Black Lives Matter protesters, has added 15 more city officers to an ever-growing “inclusion list” she created in August.
Officers on the list, a total of at least 75, are not allowed to bring suspected criminal cases to the circuit attorney’s office for charges.
Gardner’s original list contained more than two dozen officers with “credibility concerns,” but she declined to elaborate.
The DA’s spokeswoman said the list grew longer when additional officers were added later, bringing the total to 59 — roughly 5% of the city’s approximately 1,100 commissioned officers.
In addition to the ban on presenting cases, search warrants will not be approved for investigations involving officers on the list, Gardner said.
The DA released the following statement in September:
“St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John Hayden is fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the addition of 15 officers to the exclusion list.
The St. Louis City Police union under its current leadership has a consistent antagonistic history of resisting any and all attempts to root out bad actors within our police department.
The union’s predictable over the top “sky is falling” reaction to any attempt to distinguish the vast majority of honest & hardworking officers from the few bad actors is one big reason why community relations with the people they serve are so frayed. I am sure that the people of the City of St. Louis see the union’s rhetoric for what it is.“
St. Louis Police Officer Association President Jay Schroeder said they are open to resolving the issues so officers can do their jobs.
“I wish we could sit down and figure out what the problem is with the CAO, and get this fixed,” Schroeder said. “It just doesn’t seem like there’s any appetite from the CAO to do that. It’s just we put you on this list and there you go, ‘Have a nice day’.”
In June 2019, 22 more names were added to the initial exclusion list after a national group, The Philadelphia-based Plain View Project, accused the officers of posting racist and anti-Muslim comments on social media.
Gardner said seven of the newly-added officers were permanently banned from presenting cases for warrants. The other 15 would be reviewed to consider conditions of reinstatement.
Some of the posts support roughing up protesters or mock foreign accents. Others display the Confederate flag and question whether Black History Month is racist.
“When a police officer’s integrity is compromised in this manner, it compromises the entire criminal justice system and our overall ability to pursue justice,” Gardner said in a news release. “After careful examination of the underlying bias contained in those social media posts, we have concluded that this bias would likely influence an officer’s ability to perform his or her duties in an unbiased manner.”
She has drawn national criticism for charging Mark and Patricia McCloskey who were protecting themselves from a threatening BLM mob that breached their property in June by flashing guns. The couple have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
She is an active member of the group Fair and Just Prosecution, which praised her for her actions. The organization claims to support “progressive prosecutors” and funding comes from a number of sources. They say only a “tiny fraction” come from an entity related to New York-based billionaire George Soros. He also pumped $116,000 into the Missouri Justice & Public Safety Political Action Committee, which supports Gardner.