Protests turn violent in downtown St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Police confirmed that the 36 people arrested Sunday and Monday night for rioting and looting have all been released from custody.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt blames Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Gardner’s office said they still need essential evidence from police.

Schmitt tweeted about alleged looters and rioters being released from jail without charges being filed.

“In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters arrested were released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner,” read Schmitt’s tweet Wednesday morning.

[READ: Retired St. Louis police Captain David Dorn 'murdered by a looter' outside pawn shop]

“There wasn’t one person looting and rioting and shooting at police officers that could have been charged? It’s absurd,” Schmitt told News 4.

In a statement, the Circuit Attorney's Office said:

“A few cases involving stealing and looting incidents were referred to our office. In an effort to hold the offenders accountable, we need essential evidence from the police. These matters remain under investigation.”

During a press conference Tuesday, Gardner expressed anger over the events that happened Monday night including four police officers shot and the killing of a retired police captain.

“What happened last night was not about non violent protests. What happened last night was a small amount of individuals, who chose to benefit off pain and suffering of our community,” Gardner said.

According to St. Louis police, two of the 36 arrested were released on summonses, and the remaining charges have been deemed either 'pending application of warrant' or 'refused' for police follow up.

Gardner said of those 36 arrested in two nights, only eight of the cases were referred to her office.

"In yet another misleading attack against me by the local police officer association,

I was accused of letting every single person go who the St. Louis police department arrested for looting and rioting.

To be clear, as of right now, the police department brought to my office a group of 8 individuals involved with stealing for prosecution.

We need the police to bring admissible evidence to charge. My office cannot issue any case when there is not admissible evidence. Point blank.

And if we do issue a case when there is not admissible evidence, that is unethical. And I was assured by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department that when they have the required admissible evidence, they will bring these cases to my office for prosecution.

I’ve noticed that the Attorney General is tweeting quite a bit about looters and rioters and not about the fact that we have a history of police violence in this city and nation.

And that has caused people to take to the streets yet again to demand accountability and change in our criminal justice system.

It is clear that he does not care about justice or safety or the needs of this community. He just wants to launch a politically motivated attack against me, even if it means misleading and lying to the public.

While the AG continues to fuel the division in the community at a time of great pain, suffering and racial divide, my response to the AG: I got work to do."

Currently neither Gardner or Schmitt have talked to each other.

Schmitt said his office is working with federal authorities to prosecute those who committed violence in downtown St. Louis. When asked if this was a way to bypass Gardner’s office, Schmitt said, “We’re working to assist with anyone that wants to cooperate with us. And that’s why we are working with the US Attorney’s Office.”

[RELATED: 4 St. Louis police officers shot during violent protests downtown]

News 4 has reached out to the municipal court for comment and will update this story as information develops. 

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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