War of words erupts over exclusion list between Police Chief Hayden and Circuit Attorney Gardener

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office has fired back at the St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden, in response to statement released Friday that an exclusion list was created at the request of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

On Saturday, Colonel John Hayden, Commissioner of Police released the following statement:

“No leaders from our Department asked the Circuit Attorney’s Office to compile an Exclusion list, nor do we have any need for such a list. I was quite surprised to have received it. There is no indication that the list was properly vetted. We determined that six of the officers on the list no longer work for the Department. Several of the officers were involved in past investigations but have been cleared with no sustained charges.

Whenever we are concerned about an officer’s credibility, or utility with respect to protecting our citizens, that officer can be placed on administrative duty pending a determination about his or her future with the agency. This list is an unnecessary overreach which would be better handled on a case-by-case basis.
As we are currently 145 officers down, we do not have the luxury of arbitrarily placing officers on a list which hinders their ability to fully do their job.”

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner stated that “If Chief Hayden is unaware of the details regarding our concerns with the credibility of some of his officers, then he needs to look no further for the information than from his own command staff. “

Gardner further stated she will seek a meeting with Chief Hayden, Public Safety Director and the Commander of Professional Standards over the issue of an exclusion list.

Kimberly M. Gardner Circuit Attorney, City of St. Louis statement:

“If Chief Hayden is unaware of the details regarding our concerns with the credibility of some of his officers, then he needs to look no further for the information than from his own command staff.  We have documented communications between our Chief Warrant Officer and the Commander of Professional Standards regarding this issue.  In fact, Major Sack has even expressed his appreciation to us for helping to hold his “guys accountable.”

The credibility standards in my office go beyond whether someone has been cleared of formal criminal charges.  We do not make compromises on credibility, and the public should be assured that each officer will be afforded due process.

While I understand the Chief’s concern about his manpower issues, I believe the community cares that we have a fair and just criminal justice system in St. Louis. That’s what is at the heart of this matter, and I am committed to doing my part to ensure the system has integrity.

In addition, it’s imperative that we have open and honest communication between the two organizations.  I will reach out to the Chief on Tuesday and arrange a meeting with him, the Public Safety Director and the Commander of Professional Standards, so we can address this matter and move on with the important work we have to do on behalf of the of the people of the City of St. Louis.”