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US Prosecutor Sues Her Own City Under a Law Passed to Fight the K.K.K.

23:25  14 january  2020
23:25  14 january  2020 Source:   nytimes.com

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Kimberly Gardner, the top prosecutor in St. Louis, who is under investigation herself, is accusing city A battle between St. Louis’s first African-American prosecutor and the city ’s largely white legal establishment escalated on Monday, with the prosecutor suing her opponents under a little-used

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a man looking at the camera: Kimberly Gardner, the state circuit attorney for St. Louis, is the first African-American to hold that position in her city’s history.© Christopher Smith for The New York Times Kimberly Gardner, the state circuit attorney for St. Louis, is the first African-American to hold that position in her city’s history.

Kimberly Gardner, the St. Louis circuit attorney, accused city officials, the local police union and a special prosecutor who is investigating her of 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.”

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St. Louis's top prosecutor uses law created to fight the Ku Klux Klan to sue the city for thwarting her criminal justice reform efforts, and claims it's a racist conspiracy to protect violent white cops. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on Monday filed an unprecedented federal civil rights lawsuit, accusing

Kimberly Gardner, the top prosecutor in St. Louis, who is under investigation herself, is accusing city officials of a "racially motivated conspiracy" to stop her from doing her job.

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Her lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in St. Louis, follows what she describes as a coordinated campaign to block her efforts to crack down on police corruption and misconduct, and to institute much-needed changes in the city’s criminal justice system.

She is in effect asking for a federal judge to step inside the workings of the city and the local court system to stop her civil rights from being violated under the Constitution and an 1871 law commonly called the Ku Klux Klan Act, which criminalized efforts to re-enslave African-Americans.

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St. Louis’s top prosecutor , claiming a racist conspiracy, is suing the city under a law created to fight the Ku Klux Klan. When Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Act in 1871, its goal was to empower the federal government to crack down on vigilante groups that had been sowing terror throughout the

A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system.

More recently, the law has been wielded in a lawsuit against the promoters of the 2017 white power rally in Charlottesville, Va., accusing them of a conspiracy to commit violence against a racial minority.

Ms. Gardner has been at war with much of the St. Louis police force and the local legal establishment since she was elected in 2016, two years after nearby Ferguson, Mo., erupted in protest over a killing by a police officer. The St. Louis police force is mistrusted by many in the African-American community, which makes up half the city’s population.

She took several steps to make the Police Department more accountable, including creating a list of more than 50 officers who could not bring cases for prosecution to her office because of concerns over their credibility. She also indicted the state’s governor at the time, Eric Greitens, who had been a rising star in national Republican politics.

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Video: St. Louis's top prosecutor uses law created to fight the Ku Klux Klan to sue the city for thwarting her criminal justice reform efforts, and claims St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has filed an 'unprecedented' civil rights lawsuit accusing the city , the local police union and others of a

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The business manager of the local police union, Jeff Roorda, has called for Ms. Gardner’s indictment, and he recently went on a radio show to suggest that she be removed from office “by force or by choice.” In a statement, the union called Ms. Gardner’s lawsuit “frivolous, desperate and pathetic” and characterized her decision to file it as “the last act of a desperate woman.”

Jacob Long, a spokesman for the St. Louis mayor’s office, said: “The city of St. Louis vehemently denies what it considers to be meritless allegations levied against it by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. The city fully expects to be vindicated.”

Ms. Gardner is being pursued by a special prosecutor, Jerry Carmody, who began investigating her in 2018 after Mr. Greitens’s lawyers accused her of allowing the perjury of a former F.B.I. agent whom she hired to investigate the governor. Ms. Gardner has said that she did nothing wrong, and that she corrected the former agent’s errors as soon as she learned about them. She later dismissed the case against Mr. Greitens.

In an interview, Ms. Gardner said the lawsuit was about making sure she was allowed to implement the platform she was elected on.

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The police responded to reports of a stabbing at about 1:30 a.m. on Eighth Street and Limit Street, close to the city ’s downtown, where they found two people had been stabbed, the police said in a statement. Prosecutor Sues Her Own City Under a Law Passed to Fight the K . K . K .

“We’re not going to let fear and injustice stop the reforms that are needed,” Ms. Gardner said. “This is also about the continuing attacks on progressive prosecutors, not just in St. Louis, but around this country.”

Mr. Carmody has said that his investigation of Ms. Gardner is continuing, which she has described as a way to limit her effectiveness by keeping a cloud of uncertainty over her future.

As evidence of a conspiracy against her, Ms. Gardner’s lawsuit notes that one of Mr. Greitens’s chief defense lawyers is a longtime friend of Mr. Carmody, creating what she called a conflict of interest that made him an improper choice to investigate her. He was appointed by a state judge at the request of the city’s police force after a complaint was filed by the governor’s legal team. Mr. Carmody did not return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Peter Joy, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said that although the Ku Klux Klan Act dates to the 19th century, it has been employed more recently, including during the Civil Rights era to try to stop Southern sheriffs from blocking African-Americans from voting.

But proving a violation in St. Louis would require a significant amount of evidence, he said. “It’s a pretty high bar to clear.”

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