ST. LOUIS – Fox2/News 11 confirmed Thursday that St. Louis’s top prosecutor, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, has a so-called “exclusion list” of 28 police officers and will refuse to prosecute suspected criminals if any of those officers are deemed critical to such prosecutions.
Gardner has yet to identify who is on her list or why.
Fox 2/News 11 confirmed she’s given the list to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
The 28 officers already have dozens, if not hundreds, of cases before the St. Louis Circuit Court, said Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
Roorda said he a team of five attorneys reviewing the matter for possible legal action.
He said Gardner’s move meant crime in the City of St. Louis went up 2.5 percent overnight because the officers on the list handled 2.5 percent of the criminal cases in the city.
Roorda also refused to identify the officers on the list. As of Thursday, all 28 officers were still on the street investigating crimes, he said.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley demanded answers from about the list from Gardner. He said his legal team was monitoring the situation closely but had yet to hear from Gardner as of Thursday.
“I do not understand the reason for this at all,” Hawley said. “I am deeply concerned this action will result in criminals going free … vulnerable communities not getting the protections they deserve.”
Gardner did not do interviews or answer questions from reporters.
She issued the following statement:
“At the Circuit Attorney’s Office, we have the responsibility to defend the integrity of the criminal justice system. Police officers play an important role in the criminal justice system, and the credibility of officers is one of the most important attributes of the job. Police integrity is at the core of the community’s confidence in the criminal justice system.
“To do our jobs properly and legally, we must have confidence in the accuracy and honesty of the oral and written reports of police officers. A police officer’s word, and the complete veracity of that word, is fundamentally necessary to doing the job. Therefore, any break in trust must be approached with deep concern.
“When we prosecute a case, we have the potential to take someone’s liberty from them. I’m confident that the SLMPD leadership share in our commitment to ensure the integrity of every single case police bring to our office for charges.”
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden also did not answer questions or consent to an interview. The St. Louis Police Department issued the following statement:
“The Police Division did receive an Exclusion List created by the Circuit Attorney’s Office. While we are seeking legal guidance on how this affects the Police Division, we have also taken steps to notify each of the involved employees. At this time, we are considering how best to proceed and what if any actions to take. Any further inquiries should be directed to the Circuit Attorney’s Office.”