Circuit Attorney aims to create independent team to investigate - KMOV.com

Circuit Attorney aims to create independent team to investigate officer-involved shootings

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St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Garnder. Credit: KMOV St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Garnder. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

$1.3 million. That's how much St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's asking aldermen for to hire five investigators, four prosecutors and two support staff.

Their job would be to investigate all of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's officer-involved shootings, replacing the department's own Force Investigative Unit that was established in 2014.

Gardner told News 4 her hope is to re-establish "confidence in the criminal justice system".

The Circuit Attorney also said the department's methods of turning information over to her office isn't working.

Out of the 25 open police shooting cases, including over a dozen from this year alone, Gardner claims she has yet to receive reports or evidence on any of them.

"It's about transparency and accountability when we have officer-involved shootings," said Gardner. "The community is calling for those and I'm providing a solution. We should move our city forward to address these cases."

Gardner's requesting at least one percent of the funds she's asking for comes from the police department's budget -- but that decision is up to the Board of Aldermen.

Lt. Roger Engelhardt, who heads the department's Force Investigative Unit has called Gardner's claims of her office not receiving any reports incorrect. 

Instead, he told aldermen his unit's had no point of contact with her office for several months.

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