St. Louis prosecutor, police at odds again over traffic stop

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office is calling for a police investigation into a traffic stop where Gardner was pulled over downtown just before Christmas.

This comes after controversy has erupted in the wake of the stop.

It also comes after Gardner filed a federal lawsuit recently against among others the city of St. Louis alleging a racist conspiracy to get her out of office.

Video from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows Gardner driving a city-issued Ford Escape on Market Street without the headlights on.

A short time later, a St Louis police officer pulls Gardner over in the parking lot area of the downtown Post Office.

The circuit attorney’s office released additional video of the stop Thursday afternoon. Gardner said on a national news broadcast that the stop lasted more than 15 minutes. And she also said the incident happened on December 24.

However, St. Louis police tell us the stop happened on December 23 and lasted six to seven minutes, starting at 5:51 p.m.

Reddit Hudson with Gardner’s office admitted Thursday that Gardner was wrong on the date and on how long the stop lasted. But Hudson says the reference to a 15-minute stop came from St. Louis police.

“She got that information directly from the police department. She thought it was even longer than that. She thought it was 30 minutes long. And if any of you have ever been stopped by the police, any rational adult human being knows you can be off on the time in any number of situations. She was off on the time,” Hudson said.

Hudson says Gardner called her chief deputy investigator during the stop because she felt intimidated and unsafe. He came to the scene and spoke with the officer about who was in the vehicle.

Hudson says while Gardner should not have received any special treatment, he questions what the officer was doing with her information during the stop.

“I’m saying she was treated the same as any other citizen but ordinarily if that had been some other city official I would think that they would have been afforded a greater degree of courtesy,” he said.

Hudson pointed out that the circuit attorney investigator shakes hands twice with the officer and their interaction appears cordial.

That is significant because Jeff Roorda, a spokesman with the St. Louis Police Officers Association, has accused the investigator of interfering with the traffic stop.

Roorda says he would have arrested the investigator.

“There’s lots of reasons why you don’t approach a police officer when he’s in the middle of a traffic stop and political interference is not a good reason to do it,” Roorda said.

“There’s nothing professional about Kim Gardner, there’s nothing courteous about Kim Gardner, she doesn’t get any special treatment, she wasn’t given any special treatment and that’s why she’s mad.”

“The misrepresentation of the facts for political leverage or whatever leverage Jeff Roorda was seeking when he lied about what transpired is BS!”

Hudson says Roorda’s statements are a key reason why Gardner asked for the investigation. But Roorda said he stands by his statements.

Hudson also says the circuit attorney’s office received the video released on Thursday back on December 26 but Gardner only saw it today.

Fox 2 asked city police if they told Gardner the stop was some 15 minutes long but they did not respond.

It’s unclear why Gardner was not at Thursday’s event. She did not receive a ticket at the traffic stop.

 

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