St. Louis prosecutor won't take cases from 28 police officers; union seeks TRO

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After St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced her agency would no longer accept criminal cases from 28 city police officers due to “credibility issues,” their union on Tuesday sought a temporary restraining order to block the release of the officers’ names.

Open cases handled by the 28 officers are currently under review, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The 28 officers will not be allowed to serve as witnesses in criminal cases, according to the article.

The newspaper says there are 1,180 commissioned officers in the department.

In 2017, St. Louis police officers refused to testify in nonfatal police shooting cases, claiming a Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, according to an earlier Post-Dispatch article. In June, Gardner’s office said it was dropping hundreds of traffic cases and some 30 felony and misdemeanor cases that involved a Missouri state trooper whose conduct was described as “questionable” and “unacceptable” by Chris Hinckley, Gardner’s chief warrant officer.

In an Aug. 30 statement Gardner wrote that prosecutors are responsible 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.”

Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, told the newspaper that Gardner’s office did not make any specific disciplinary findings regarding the 28 officers or provide them with due process before placing them on the list.

Hat Tip to Above the Law.

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