Police union calls charges against two officers an abuse of power, demands Gardner step aside

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The St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) is calling charges filed against two St. Louis Police Officers by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s Office “an unprecedented abuse of power."

The two officers were charged related to an off-duty incident from April of 2018 at Bomber O'Briens, a Tower Grove South sports bar, where one officer was shot and the second officer fired on the assailant critically wounding him.

Two other off-duty officers witnessed the shooting and gave statements in the matter.

In a statement, the Police Officers Association said video surveillance of the parking lot also confirmed the four officers’ accounts of the events.

The Police Department's elite Force Investigative Unit sought charges against the officers' assailant. But, in what the union called "a stunning move," Gardner charged the two officers with multiple felonies including first-degree assault .

SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda, said he was “astounded” by Gardner’s move.

ROORDA

“Kim Gardner has disregarded the statements of four police officers, video evidence and forensic evidence and instead decided to take the word of a would-be cop-killer, who the police department describes as a known gang member, and charged the victims in this crime," Roorda said.

UNDER INVESTIGATION

Roorda pointed-out that Gardner's team is under investigation by a state appointed grand jury in St. Louis for alleged perjury in the invasion of privacy case involving former Missouri governor Eric Greitens. The investigation was prompted by complaints filed by Greitens defense team that Gardner's out-of-state investigator, former FBI agent William Tisaby, lied under oath during a deposition in the run-up to trial on a charge that was later dismissed.

Roorda said the police union also called for a criminal investigation into Gardner's misuse of campaign funds.

Missouri Ethics Commission regulators fined  Gardner $63,009  last month after officials said she used campaign funds for personal expenses and failed to accurately report numerous contributions and expenditures.

'TRYING TO DISTRACT PUBLIC ATTENTION'

“Here we have a prosecutor desperately trying to distract public attention from her own troubles," Roorda said. "She is under grand Jury investigation for suborning perjury of one of her investigators and now she has enticed testimony against police officers who were the victims of attempted murder.

"Of course he’s going to lie,” Roorda said of the man who was shot outside the bar.

“Until Gardner is cleared of suspicion, she should step down and hand the reins over to a credible prosecutor who has the interests of justice at heart," Roorda said.

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