This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 5, 2023:
Protesting to the very end that the attacks on her as St. Louis Circuit attorney were politically and racially motivated, Kimberly Gardner finally caved. In her tweet on Thursday to the city's residents who had endured nearly six years of rising crime due to her malfeasance, she attempted a classic misdirection:
Since day one of my tenure as Circuit Attorney, I have experienced attacks on my reforms, on my judgment, on my integrity, on my prosecutorial discretion, on my responsibility to direct the limited resources of this office and more.
Some of these attacks seem designed to stop the office from functioning, at the expense of public safety. We have experienced an onslaught of records requests that no office in the country could reasonably fulfill, along with attacks on our hard-working line attorneys designed to demoralize these public servants. There is no sign that the onslaught would stop for as long as I am in the office.
Those “attacks” began almost from the first day she took office in 2016. She revamped the rules under which her attorneys would bring cases to trial. She loaded them up with unbearable numbers, often exceeding 100 for each attorney in her office, resulting in delays averaging 340 days between charging and trial.
Within months she created an “exclusion list” of nearly 30 police officers, prohibiting them from filing charges with her office.
It didn't take long for crime in St. Louis to rise. The 264 homicides the city reported in 2020 were more than 36 percent more than the year before. Property crime soared, and is now more than four times the national average, while the murder rate is eight times the national average.
Neighborhood Scout rates St. Louis as one of the most crime-ridden cities in the nation.
Her determination to undermine the rule of law in the name of equity finally resulted in Missouri's Attorney General Andrew Bailey filing a petition to remove her from office. That petition was likely driven by the final straw: the maiming of a young woman by a criminal whom Gardner had let out on bond.
Bailey's petition provided the details of the ghastly incident:
Janae Edmonson, a teenage athlete, was walking back to her hotel in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, February 18. Ms. Edmonson, who was in town for a volleyball tournament, had just verbally committed to play sports for a college in Tennessee.
As Ms. Edmonson and her family walked down the sidewalk, a speeding car driven by Daniel Riley crashed into another car and struck Ms. Edmonson, severing one of her legs and maiming the other.
Her father, thanks to his quick thinking and military service, applied two belts as tourniquets as he watched the life drain from her face.
Thankfully, Ms. Edmonson survived, although both of her legs were amputated.
Just who is Daniel Riley? Bailey explained:
Daniel Riley never should have been driving that car. In 2020, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office charged Riley with First Degree Robbery and Armed Criminal Action for stealing a firearm from [a] victim at gunpoint.
The Circuit Attorney [Gardner] dismissed and refiled that case on July 18, 2022, but not before Riley — who was out on bond — earned 54 separate violations for failing to comply with the pre-trial bond conditions.
After the Circuit Attorney refiled the case, Riley earned 50 more violations. The Circuit Attorney never filed a motion to revoke Riley's bond. [Emphasis in original.]
But her office had plenty of time to prosecute Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who protected their property during the George Floyd riots by displaying their legally owned firearms. The judge in that case saw through Gardner's real motives, writing that her attempt was “a criminal prosecution for political purposes.”
In her resignation tweet, Gardner expressed pride in her accomplishments: “Under my leadership … this office has made tremendous strides in redefining public safety.” She was correct about that. That “redefining” meant that her office dismissed nearly 12,000 criminal cases, including some involving first-degree murder.
Her resignation was met with a sigh of relief from many, including Representative Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who tweeted, “She has presided over miscarriages of justice for years, hurting countless victims who put their trust in her and letting dangerous criminals escape the accountability they deserve. St. Louis will be better off without her.”
Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher, along with the House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Henderson and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Patterson, issued a joint statement:
We have achieved an important victory in restoring law and order in the City of St. Louis with this resignation. Addressing the violent crime crisis that has destabilized the St. Louis region has been one of our highest priorities this session, which has included holding the Circuit Attorney accountable for the willful neglect of her constitutional duties.
Even judges on the St. Louis Circuit Court were relieved at the news of her resignation: “We hope St. Louis' next Circuit Attorney is successful in restoring stability to the Office and rebuilding its ranks with experienced prosecutors.”
State Attorney General Bailey can't wait for Gardner's reign of terror to end:
There is absolutely no reason for the circuit attorney to remain in office until June 1.
We remain undeterred with our legal quest to forcibly remove her from office. Every day she remains puts the city of St. Louis in more danger.
How many victims will there be between now and June 1? How many defendants will have their constitutional rights violated? How many cases will continue to go unprosecuted?
Missouri Governor Mike Parson will name Gardner's replacement.