St. Louis, MO (KTRS) State Senator Jamilah Nasheed is calling for a hearing on the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s so-called police exclusion list.
Nasheed said she wants the Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee to hold hearings into the ‘exclusion list’ of officers for whom the Circuit Attorney’s office has said it may refuse cases of suspected criminals.
“We deserve to know why this unprecedented step was taken,” said Nasheed. “If the circuit attorney’s office no longer trusts the word of more than two dozen city police officers, the people should know why and how this trust was broken.
“Unfortunately, the details of this ‘exclusion list’ have been kept secret. That’s why I’m calling on the Board of Aldermen to shine a light on why this ‘exclusion list’ was created in the first place.” Nasheed added.
Meanwhile, the Circuit Attorney’s Office issued another statement on Friday afternoon:
Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner is committed to the public safety of the residents and its visitors of the City of St. Louis. It’s important for the community to understand that the Circuit Attorney’s Office will continue to pursue current, open criminal cases involving these officers, as long as the criminal case can be proven without the testimony of these specific officers. Proving a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law requires credible evidence. Police testimony is only one form of evidence.
Prosecutors will work with police to do everything possible to ensure violent offenders are held accountable, regardless of the role any of these police officers may have had in the gathering of evidence.
For several months, key leaders of the Circuit Attorney’s Office and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department have had in-depth conversations about prosecutors’ concerns regarding the credibility of several city police officers. Contrary to reports, these concerns were not a surprise to the SLMPD this week.
Exclusion of witnesses is entirely appropriate when there are questions of veracity, whether they are police officers or lay people. In fact, it is the job of prosecutors to determine the credibility of all witnesses and make the appropriate decisions on who they are going to put on the witness stand. Prosecutors across the country exclude police officers from bringing cases to their office when they believe it’s necessary. To say this never happens is inaccurate.
The list was created at the request of the SLMPD, not at the urging of prosecutors, as it was intended for internal purposes to ensure integrity in the system. Circuit Gardner had a productive conversation with the Director of Public Safety today to ensure he was clear about her position on this important matter and to express her disappointment that the someone in the police department felt it necessary to leak this information to the media, which has resulted in fostering misinformation and fear in the community.
Circuit Attorney Gardner will not jeopardize the integrity of the criminal justice system by allowing the concerning actions of a small number of police officers to taint the good work of the honest, credible and hardworking police officers of our police department.