St. Louis’ First Black Top Prosecutor Has ‘Inventive Ideas’

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Kimberly Gardner said that winning the Democratic primary to be the city’s top prosecutor showed that St. Louis was ready for “something different.” Gardner, a state representative, would provide something St. Louis has never seen — a black circuit attorney, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is the presumptive successor to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce because no Republican is running in the November election. Gardner, 41, will be the third consecutive woman to hold the job. Gardner said she had “inventive ideas” for the job but did not provide specifics. She plans to evaluate the office, where she once worked as an assistant, before making major changes. For now, her biggest focus is on narrowing what she sees as a trust gap between residents and the criminal justice system.

“This is a win for all of St. Louis city,” Gardner said. “We all have to work together. And even though I didn’t get official endorsements, it’s a new day. And we need to move forward.” She swamped three other Democrats in Tuesday’s primary with about 47 percent of the vote. Her closest competitor, Assistant Circuit Attorney Mary Pat Carl, who had Joyce’s public support, ran second with half that. Gardner is aware that she will assume her new role amid soaring violence in St. Louis and souring minority relations with anxious police.

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