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Prosecutor Claims Cop Intimidated Her On Stop, Then Video Shows The Truth

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's claims conflict with video evidence of the stop.

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Circuity Attorney Kim Gardner has insisted that police attempted to intimidate her by holding her up for over 15 minutes when they pulled her over in December, but security footage showed that the entire stop lasted just six minutes.

An investigator from Gardner’s office also “involved himself” in the stop to the point that “he could have been arrested for interfering but was not,” the St. Louis Police Department (SLPD) told KMOV in a statement.

St. Louis Police stopped Gardner for driving without her headlights activated on Market Street on the night of Dec. 23, 2019.

Despite video evidence to the contrary, the circuit attorney has insisted that the traffic stop occurred on Dec. 24, which was Christmas Eve.

“I was stopped for no lights, but held for over 15 minutes but I still don’t know the reason why,” she alleged during an interview with CBS News on Jan. 14. “But it’s okay. But those are intimidation tactics that are used to stop reform.”

Gardner, who is suing the city and the police union for allegedly trying to oust her from office as part of a racist conspiracy, even reiterated her claim about the length of the traffic stop during a subsequent radio interview, KMOV reported.

But security footage of the traffic stop proved that Gardner was held up for just over six minutes.

“She’s not talking about it publicly,” St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) President Jeff Roorda said. “She’s lying about it publicly.”

According to Roorda, the officer initially had no idea that the driver he pulled over was the circuit attorney, KMOV reported.

During the brief stop, an investigator who works for Gardner showed up at the scene and interjected himself into the situation, the union leader said.

“One of her investigators interfered with the traffic stop, tried to intimidate the officer,” Roorda told KMOV. “I would have arrested him. You can’t just show up and interfere with traffic stop.”

Gardner refused to sit down for an interview with KMOV, but sent the news outlet several statements instead.

In the initial statement, Gardner’s office said that the traffic stop occurred on Dec. 23, 2019, which matched police and video records, but conflicted with the claims she made during her CBS interview.

Her office then issued an amended statement, claiming that the date of the stop was on Dec. 24.

“Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner disputes the facts shared by the police and police union in regards to being pulled over on December 24,” the circuit attorney’s office said. “According to the police it was a 15 minute stop. In addition, the officer’s statement is different than the one shared by Jeff Roorda.”

But the SLPD confirmed what transpired with regards to the investigator from Gardner’s office, and noted that the actual length of the stop was clearly captured in the video.

“We never stated she was detained for 15 minutes,” the department told KMOV. “The video provided clearly indicates the length of time spent by the officer.”

“An investigator from the Circuit Attorney’s Office did involve himself into the traffic investigation for which he could have been arrested for interfering but was not arrested,” the department noted.

Gardner was let off with a warning for the headlight violation.

“The events of the night in question are worthy of serious attention,” the statement from Gardner’s office read. “We will note that Mr. Roorda’s dismissive attitude and willingness to publicly comment on such a matter without taking the time to gather credible information regarding the events is unfortunate. This serves as yet another example of the biased rhetoric that made legal action necessary against the SLPOA police union.”

Gardner, the first black St. Louis circuit attorney, filed her lawsuit against the city and the police union on Jan. 13, CBS News reported.

She alleged that the city and police have tried to “intimidate, silence, and sideline” her to prevent her criminal justice reform efforts and to force her out of office, according to CBS News.

In her lawsuit, Gardner also alleged that the police union has “gone out of its way to support white officers accused of perpetrating acts of violence…against African-American citizens.”

The city has denied being part of the alleged racist conspiracy to overthrow the circuit attorney, and said it “fully expects to be vindicated” in court.

The SLPOA said that Gardner’s lawsuit is nothing more than “the last act of a desperate woman.”

“This woman needs to go,” Roorda said in a radio interview, according to CBS News. “She’s a menace to society.”

Gardner said she believes Roorda’s comment was a threat.

“Roorda’s able to speak unchecked, without any repercussions,” she said. “And that’s not ok.”

Gardner told CBS News that she has no plans of resigning her position.

“I stand on the shoulders of the people who paved the way for me,” she said. “What if the other civil rights leaders decided it’s too hard? Where would we be now? It’s about standing up for what’s right.”

Holly Matkin - January Thu, 2020

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