As we’ve covered previously, things got out-of-hand in St. Louis Sunday and Monday evening following protests regarding the death of George Floyd. (Read: In St. Louis, Chaos Takes Over, 4 Officers Shot; Horrible: Retired Police Captain Murdered by Looters Defending Store.)
Though the daytime protests were peaceful, the scene at night told a very different story. Police Chief John Hayden reflected on that emotionally following the shooting of four officers Monday night.
Police update 4 officers shot overnight https://t.co/RJRHG5U7Ah
— FOX 2 Rogue Runner (@RogueRunnerSTL) June 2, 2020
St. Louis police arrested 36 people between Sunday and Tuesday – 25 of whom were arrested during riots that erupted late Monday and into early Tuesday morning during which four police officers were shot. The charges included misdemeanors and felonies for burglaries, property damage, assault, interfering with arrest, stealing and trespassing and unlawful use of a weapon.
Great, right? Justice will be served-ish. As I’ve written previously, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner doesn’t have a sterling reputation when it comes to carrying out the duties of her office. Yesterday, I shared my skepticism on that:
That's rhetorical, right? 😉
— Susie Moore (@SmoosieQ) June 2, 2020
Now comes some particularly disturbing news from Missouri’s Attorney General, Eric Schmitt:
In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters arrested were released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner. pic.twitter.com/tMZVAyHssw
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) June 3, 2020
Per the KSDK article, only two summonses were even issued out of the 36 individuals arrested. And all of those arrested have already been released.
Yes, it’s true that the Circuit Attorney’s office has 3 years to issue charges. However, based on Gardner’s dubious track record, (see, e.g., Could St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Lose Control Over Certain Cases; 470 Years of Experience Gone: Kimberly M. Gardner Has Lost More Lawyers Than She Had When She Took Office; Everything We Know About Kim Gardner’s Tenure), I’m not overly optimistic.
Gardner is up for re-election this year. The Democratic primary is set for August and, thankfully, she’s being challenged by former homicide prosecutor Mary Pat Carl. (The primary is the real contest here, as Republican candidates generally don’t fare well in the City of St. Louis — assuming they even field a candidate.)