ST. LOUIS (CN) – A police union spokesman on Tuesday called St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner the worst prosecutor in the country, a day after she accused the union and city of a racist conspiracy to force her out.
Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, made the statement during a press conference addressing a federal lawsuit Gardner filed Monday against the city, the union, Roorda, and attorneys Gerard Carmody, Patrick Carmody and Ryann Carmody. She claims the defendants conspired to discredit her because she is the city’s first black female prosecutor who ran on a platform of criminal justice reform.
“We’re not criticizing her because she’s the first,” Roorda told reporters. “We’re criticizing her because she’s the worst, the worst prosecutor in the United States. Her brand of criminal justice reform is not criminal justice reform, it’s amnesty for criminals, the most violent criminals in America.”
Roorda began the presser by reading a scathing written statement that questioned Gardner’s conduct. The Carmody defendants were picked by a judge to conduct a special investigation into her office’s handling of the high-profile criminal case against disgraced former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens which resulted in tampering and perjury charges against Gardner’s hand-picked investigator, William Don Tisaby.
One of Gardner’s top aides was deposed in that case Monday, the same day Gardner filed her lawsuit. Gardner is scheduled to be deposed on Wednesday.
“Gardner doesn’t want to answer for her conduct,” Roorda said. “That’s what this lawsuit is about. The walls are closing in on this corrupt official and she is doing what every corrupt official does. She’s pushing back on those walls. Make no mistake, this is the last act of a desperate woman who simply wants to silence her critics.”
A spokeswoman for Gardner did not immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on Roorda’s statements.
Gardner’s lawsuit was just as scathing towards Roorda and the rest of the defendants.
The suit alleges violations of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 against the defendants, who are all white. The Act is designed to prevent a racially motivated conspiracy to deny the civil rights of racial minorities by obstructing a government official's efforts to ensure equal justice under law.
"This is about the will of the people being silenced by a concerted effort to stop reform in the city of St. Louis, and this has to be addressed," Gardner said in an interview with the Associated Press. "This is saying, 'No more are we going to let the powerful few who want to hold onto the status quo prevent an elected prosecutor from doing her job."'
Gardner, a Democrat, became the city's first African American circuit attorney when she was elected in 2016.
Soon after taking office, she announced she would cease prosecutions of low-level marijuana crimes. In 2018, she developed an "exclusion list" of more than two dozen police officers who were barred from serving as primary witnesses in criminal cases over what Gardner called credibility concerns.
The exclusion list angered many in the law enforcement community, including Roorda, who mentioned it again during his press conference Tuesday.