STL Circuit Attorney asks for independent team to investigate officer-involved shootings

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner asked the Public Safety Committee to authorize her office to use an independent team to lead all police shooting investigations.

With 205 murders in the City of St. Louis last year, Alderman President Lewis Reed created a public safety plan help reduce crime.  Meanwhile, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says she wants to promote confidence in the criminal justice system.

"I think it's important that we have this bill in place. It brings the police department and Circuit Attorney's Office together to address issues," said Gardner.

On Wednesday morning, Gardner told Reed's Public Safety Committee that her office should lead investigations when it comes to officer-involved shootings.

The St. Louis City Circuit Attorney said the main purpose would be to provide unbiased investigations that promote confidence in the criminal justice system. At present, her office is working 28 police-involved shootings.

"In terms of being transparent in officer-involved shootings cases, it addresses the issue that previous Circuit Attorney Jenifer Joyce said when we do parallel investigations."

The Board of Aldermen Public Safety committee did not take a vote and only have two meetings left before spring break to decide if the bill will pass out of committee.  "A stronger bill with stronger language, a couple of things we need to fix, but they are minor and the bill will be passed," said Alderman John Collins-Muhammad (D) Ward 21.

Also on the agenda, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed's bill that would direct the St. Louis Public Safety director to complete an annual comprehensive public safety plan. Reed wants all facets of crime addressed and evaluated yearly with supporting data. He said it will help reduce crime.

The Public Safety bill passed out of committee. It still needs full board approval.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's request has met with fierce opposition from the St. Louis Police Officer's Union. Their representative testified last week.