A week after she won the Democratic primary for reelection as St. Louis’ top prosecutor, Kimberly Gardner came under renewed attack from Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, who is seeking “concurrent jurisdiction” for the state’s attorney general over local homicide cases, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt, also a Republican, have complained that the progressive prosecutor isn’t doing enough to curb the city’s violence. But, Parson said, he is only trying to help Gardner, not interfere.
Gardner, the first Black woman elected circuit attorney in St. Louis, has had a controversial first term highlighted by tensions with police and criticism of her reform-minded prosecution policies. She called Parson’s latest move, made in a special legislative session he called over violent crime, “a vehicle to interfere with the clear discretion of a democratically elected local prosecutor.” Through Monday, St. Louis’ 162 homicides year-to-date are up from 120 over the same period last year. Gardner implicitly blamed police for unsolved crimes resulting from a lack of trust in the community. She and Parson clashed last month over her prosecution of a white couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters.