St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner faced a chaotic press conference on Thursday following Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s legal action to have her removed from her post for the negligence of her duties.
The conference followed the public outcry over Gardner’s handling of a prosecution case against 21-year-old Daniel Riley. Riley, who was out on bail after violating his bond multiple times, struck Janae Edmondson, a teenager who was visiting St. Louis with her family for a volleyball tournament.
The police reported that Riley was speeding, failed to yield, and caused a collision, ultimately pinning Edmondson. She remains in the hospital after both her legs were amputated due to the injuries she sustained from the crash.
During the conference, one attendee shouted out that Gardner was facing “race harassment,” causing a kerfuffle among reporters and attendees. Gardner replied that her job was to serve the people of St. Louis and to do so fairly and justly.
However, she claimed that her office was under attack by individuals with an agenda to prevent her from succeeding, and she referred to “vitriol, hate, racist attacks, and the known manipulation of the court procedures.”
Another reporter asked why there was no court record of her office’s request to revoke Riley’s bond. Gardner replied that oral motions were often made in this jurisdiction, and these were normal practices, although there was a further kerfuffle among reporters and attendees.
When asked about St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones’s statement that the public had lost confidence in her, Gardner said that she was focused on the people who had elected her and that people had a process if they no longer wanted her in the office. Gardner did not address the mayor’s statement, stating that the people should speak for themselves.
Despite the controversy surrounding her office, Gardner received applause and support from some attendees at the press conference. However, Bailey’s legal action against her has raised questions about her ability to remain in office.
In conclusion, the press conference highlighted the complex and contentious issues surrounding Gardner’s handling of the prosecution of Riley and the resulting tragedy that befell Edmondson. While Gardner sought to defend her office’s actions and focus on serving the people of St. Louis, the questions and criticisms she faced from the press and attendees indicate the challenges she faced in her role as circuit attorney.
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