The St. Louis prosecutor is seeking re-election despite the ouster bid

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis attorney-at-law-elect has announced that she will seek re-election in 2024, even as she tries to fend off an attempt by the Missouri Attorney General to force her out of office.

Speaking at an often rowdy public forum Tuesday night, Democratic District Attorney Kim Gardner made it clear that not only will she not resign, but that she plans to run again.

Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed a lawsuit last month prompts a judge to remove Gardner out of office, accusing them of incompetence. Bailey cited a low conviction rate in murder cases, accused Gardner of not keeping crime victims and their families informed, and said her office is too slow to take on cases brought up by the police.

In addition to the lawsuit a Republican-led bill in Statehouse would give the governor the power to appoint a special prosecutor to take on violent crimes in jurisdictions with a homicide rate above a certain threshold — a measure designed with St. Louis in mind.

Gardner, the city’s first Black District Attorney, told the crowd at the West Side Missionary Baptist Church that Bailey and other Republican critics “made it about race. I didn’t do it for races. All these white men attacking a black prosecutor. So you tell me who speaks of race?”

Bailey said in a statement that Gardner is the one who “brings race and politics into a court proceeding,” noting that many Democrats in St. Louis have expressed concerns about Gardner’s performance.

“It’s not just me saying that,” Bailey said. “I speak on behalf of the people of the state of Missouri, but her own constituents and elected officials in her jurisdiction have also called for her resignation. Therefore, to claim that this is politically or racially motivated is ridiculous.”

Gardner, 47, was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. she is it among several progressive Democratic prosecutors across the country who have taken steps such as B. Ending the prosecution of low-level marijuana crimes and seeking mental health treatment instead of incarcerating nonviolent criminals.

She has often clashed with the police, most notably in 2018 when she announced one “Exclusion List” of more than two dozen police officers barred from serving as key witnesses in criminal cases due to credibility concerns that Gardner described.

criticism of Gardner escalated last month after 17-year-old Janae Edmondson, a standout volleyball player from Tennessee, was hit by a speeding car after a tournament game in downtown St. Louis. The 21-year-old driver was on bail for robbery despite nearly 100 bail violations, including his GPS monitor dead and breaking the terms of his house arrest, according to court documents.

Some questioned why Riley was allowed to remain free despite so many bond breaches.

Gardner attracted national attention in 2018 when she impeached the then-governor. Eric Breitens with criminal invasion of privacy and accused him of taking a compromising photograph of a woman during an extramarital affair. The charges were eventually dropped. But Greitens, a Republican who was also under investigation by Missouri lawmakers, resigned in June 2018.

The case was subjected to a scrutiny that led to this sentencing of Gardner’s investigators. Gardner received one written warning for failure to provide documents and erroneously claiming that all documents had been made available to von Greitens’ lawyers.

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