ST. LOUIS – Attorney Dana Mulhauser is leaving her job next week as founding chief of the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Conviction and Incident Review team.
She’s had the tough job of prosecuting police in St. Louis County, holding the only position of its kind in Missouri.
She sat down with Fox 2 News for an interview, Tuesday.
“(My job) is not about singling out police officers for special treatment or aggressive prosecution,” she said.
“It is about finding a way and setting up a structure so that those folks (police) can be investigated with some amount of distance, dispassion, and objectivity in a way that hopefully anybody else is.”
In her two years on the job, she had handled dozens of cases, she said.
Her review of a February 2020 police shooting in north county that left a driver seriously wounded has led to felony Assault and Weapons charges against Velda City’s two police officers.
They claim self-defense as the driver allegedly fled a traffic stop and allegedly tried to run over one of the officers.
Their next court date is in October.
When police shot and killed Terry Tillman nearly two years ago on the steps of a parking garage across from the Galleria mall, there was a contention that Tillman was unarmed and police planted a gun.
Mulhauser’s review showed otherwise, she said.
Police dashcam video showed Tillman with a hand-gun drawn as he faced a police officer just before the shooting.
Surveillance video from the mall showed Tillman running through the Galleria with the same gun.
Cell phone video of an officer with Tillman’s gun after the shooting was actually the officer securing the gun as evidence and not planting it at the scene, she said.
“Not every tragedy is a crime that can be criminally prosecuted. That doesn’t make that person’s pain any less, the loss for the community any less but there’s not always a crime,” Mulhauser said.
“We can’t take a case to trial just because folks want to see it. We have to truly know and believe that there is proof that a crime has been committed and that we can prove that crime beyond a reasonable doubt.”
She also worked with St. Louis County Prosecutor, Wesley Bell, in reviewing the deadly 2014 Ferguson Police shooting of Mike Brown. That review resulted in no charges against former officer, Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown claiming self-defense.
Then there is the case of Johnny Briscoe, exonerated of rape in St. Louis County by DNA evidence after serving 24 years in prison.
Mulhauser fought the State of Missouri to get more than $800,000 in restitution for Briscoe.
“I researched it. I said, ‘I think he’s right.’ I think he deserves this under the law and I think we should help him get it,” she said.
“Your job is not just to advocate for the toughest sentence or the most convictions or the harshest penalty. Your job is to take a larger view: to do what’s right and what’s just.”
Mulhauser is taking a new post investigating police-involved fatalities for the State of Maryland.
“It’s high praise when someone hires from your leadership team for a crucial leadership role, which is what the Maryland Attorney General has done by offering Dana this important statewide position,” Bell said.
The search is on for her replacement.