There is an effort underway in Missouri to remove St. Louis’ top prosecutor from office.
Missouri’s state Attorney General, Andrew Bailey, a Republican, has filed a lawsuit seeking to force St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s removal, and this week, added several additional grounds to the case for her ouster. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, these charges include allegations she refused to review multiple cases involving police use of force and allegations of her presiding over what was described as a “toxic office environment” in which it is claimed she has failed to train, and also verbally abused, employees.
The lawsuit was filed late last month in response to calls for her ouster both at the local and state legislative levels in Missouri following a high-profile incident which happened over Presidents’ Day weekend. In that incident, a 21-year old man who, according to the newspaper, was facing criminal charges in a separate case but was out free despite previous violations of bond rules, is alleged to have been driving at a high rate of speed down a busy downtown street in St. Louis, and crashed his car into some parked vehicles. That crash seriously injured a teenage volleyball player who was in town from Tennessee with her family participating in a holiday weekend club tournament at the city’s downtown convention center and resulted in the amputation of that girl’s legs. The suspect, Daniel Riley, has been charged and the case is now working through the court system. But concerns about how Riley was handled by Gardner’s office along with concerns about whether the incident could negatively impact St. Louis’s tourism industry resulted in the calls for her ouster.
Gardner, who has vowed to fight the recall, has until the end of next week to file a response to the new charges. No date for a court hearing on this matter has been set yet.