Missouri AG Offers Help With Rioters, St. Louis Attorney Tells Him To Help With Traffic Tickets
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Says That They Don’t Need Help With Rioters
St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner wasn’t very welcoming to Attorney General Josh Hawley’s offer to assist in prosecuting rioting cases.
Over the weekend, AG Hawley sent a letter to Gardner ‘outlining’ the laws against rioting, and offering his assistance, according to Riverfront Times.
On Wednesday morning, September 20, Gardner issued her response. In a statement, she said she had sent a letter to Missouri Governor Eric Greitens asking for a solution to the thousands of tickets issued by the Missouri Highway Patrol to St. Louis drivers.
The practice started in July, when Governor Greitens directed troopers to patrol along Interstates 55 and 70, after he made reference to a “crime crisis in the most dangerous city in the United States of America.” His intent was apparently to help St. Louis police officers, who had more serious crimes to deal with instead of speeding and illegal lane changes.
Between 3,500 and 4,500 tickets have been issued since that time, in addition to 130 felony arrests, more than 630 arrests on outstanding warrants, and 67 DWI arrests.
In Wednesday’s statement, Gardner said, “We are not staffed or funded to handle the additional workload presented by the Missouri Highway Patrol. The best and most valuable use of our limited resources and manpower is to protect public safety by addressing the rising violent crime facing our community.”
She did say that her office “will continue to address the DWIs, outstanding misdemeanor warrants/arrests and all outstanding felony warrants/arrests” brought by the highway patrol, and noted that AG Hawley had already offered his assistance on those cases.
Gardner also said the office of the St. Louis City Counselor, which presides over municipal violations, is already handling cases of “non-violent trespass [and] non-violent civil disobedience” during protests, while her office is “only reviewing recommended charges for people arrested for alleged illegal conduct involving violence, assaultive behavior and/or destruction of property.”
Her letter also noted that police have not referred any rioting charges to her office.
AG Hawley’s letter to Gardner was sent one day after former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley was acquitted in the officer-involved shooting and death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Gardner’s office unsuccessfully prosecuted Stockley.