St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, under investigation for wrongdoing, has filed suit under civil rights law alleging a “racist conspiracy” against the police and city officials for trying to remove her from office.
The lawsuit names the city of St. Louis; the St. Louis Police Officers Association; the police union’s business manager, Jeff Roorda; and Gerard Carmody, a special prosecutor who indicted an investigator hired by Gardner, among others.
That investigator, former FBI agent William Tisaby, was indicted for perjury after lying on a deposition relating to former Governor Eric Greitens, who resigned after it was discovered he took a nude photo of his mistress without her consent. Gardner hired Tisaby, a private investigator, rather than working with police to investigate the former governor.
Gardner is also under investigation for being complicit in Tisaby’s crimes.
In her lawsuit, Gardner cites St. Louis’ “long history of racial inequality and prejudice in its criminal justice system generally, and within its police force particularly.”
She said the police union and others “have mobilized to thwart” her efforts to reform the city’s justice system by “the unprecedented appointment of a white, ethically conflicted Special Prosecutor” in an effort to oust her.
The lawsuit says the police union “has gone out of its way to support white officers accused of perpetrating acts of violence and excessive force against African American citizens.” It cites Roorda’s support of Darren Wilson, the white officer who was not charged but resigned after fatally shooting Michael Brown, a black teenager, in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.
The police force is about 30 percent black, with a black police commissioner. Like all urban police forces, it has come under fire for its racial policies. But to allege — and prove — conspiracy is a stretch.
City officials are calling the suit “frivolous and without merit.”
They added, “The union believes this is a grand distraction meant to misdirect the attention that Gardner’s deposition is sure to generate.”
A spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson also denied Gardner’s claim of a racist conspiracy and said the mayor expects to be “fully vindicated” after the trial.
Attorney General William Barr referred to Gardner and her fellow left-wing prosecutors as “Soros-backed crusaders” who threaten the rule of law. According to Kim, this type of lawsuit is unprecedented and will be the first time a city prosecutor has brought a federal lawsuit against her own city and the police union.
Gardner’s ploy appears to be working — as she knew it would.
A day after Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner filed a federal lawsuit alleging a racist conspiracy against her, prosecutors from across the nation converged here to show support for the embattled St. Louis prosecutor.
The six prosecutors from California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia joined supporters Tuesday from St. Louis’ black community outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis to rally for Gardner, whose office has been under investigation in the fallout of a perjury case of a man hired to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens
“Kim, like the others that stand before you today, has challenged the status quo and the keepers of the status quo don’t like that, which is why she’s being personally and professionally attacked,” Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said. “We are here to tell Kim and everyone else we shall not over overcome, but collectively we shall prevail in reforming the criminal justice system.”
Gardner’s prosecution of the former governor of Missouri has nothing to do with “reforming” the criminal justice system. But using Greiten’s scalp to advance her career was on the agenda. Gardner may have knowingly allowed an employee of her office to commit perjury, but it’s the racist police who are out to get her.
Playing the race card is about all she had left to save her job.