St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner, has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that they have created a “racially motivated conspiracy” to prevent her from doing her job.
Gardner said she was elected in 2016 to “redress the scourge of historical inequality and rebuild trust” among communities of color. However, she claims that the city’s “unprecedented appointment” of a special prosecutor in 2018 underscores a collective pattern of “collusive conduct” that she believes has undermined her authority.
The lawsuit claims that decisions were made “to thwart and impede her efforts to establish equal treatment under law for all St. Louis citizens at every turn; to remove her from the position to which she was duly elected — by any means necessary — and perhaps to show her successor what happens to Circuit Attorneys who dare to stand up for the equal rights of racial minorities in St. Louis.”
Gardner cites violations of the Constitution and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 in her lawsuit. The anti-Klan act was part of a series of federal uses to get rid of white supremists and that codified the protection of African Americans after the Civil War and made it illegal to discriminate for voting and other rights.
“The Ku Klux Klan Act was adopted to address precisely this scenario: a racially motivated conspiracy to deny the civil rights of racial minorities by obstructing a government official’s efforts to ensure equal justice under law for all,” the suit says. “The stakes are high. This case cries out for federal enforcement.”
Gardner mentioned in her lawsuit that St. Louis has a history of invidious racial animus. She said that while John Hayden Jr, an African American, was the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Department, the top brass and department itself remain majority white. However, black drivers are overrepresented in the number of traffic stops.
The lawsuit accuses the union of going “out of its way to support white officers accused of perpetrating acts of violence and excessive force” against black residents.
Jacob Long, a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, said the city views the allegations in the lawsuit as meritless. He said the city “fully expects to be vindicated once this case is adjudicated in a court of law.”
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and for a judge to stop the defendants from “violating Gardner’s civil rights.”