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Democratic St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner abruptly resigned from her post on Tuesday amid mounting pressure to do so by Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who accused the allegedly “light on crime” prosecutor of consistently engaging in misconduct and dereliction of duty.
In February, Bailey had given Gardner a choice after he said she has repeatedly failed in keeping the residents of her city safe from crime: resign or be removed from office. Gardner initially refused either option.
The declaration by Bailey came after a major incident in late February drew public outcry; a man driving a car who had repeatedly violated the conditions of his bond – yet was still free and on the streets – hit a teenaged pedestrian, critically injuring her and ultimately causing the loss of her legs.
In the aftermath, Bailey accused Gardner – whose tenure as St. Louis Circuit Attorney has been widely criticized, even by her fellow Democrats – of creating more victims of crime in her city, as opposed to preventing them.
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“Instead of protecting victims, Circuit Attorney Gardner is creating them,” Bailey said. “My office will do everything in its power to restore order, and eliminate the chaos in St. Louis caused by Kim Gardner’s neglect of her office.”
Gardner, despite initially declaring that she would fight her removal from her office, announced earlier in May that she would resign as of June 1; however, she turned many heads when she instead left her post on Tuesday, effective immediately.
“The circuit attorney has worked with St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell and his office to ensure a comprehensive transition plan is in place to handle cases that prioritizes public safety. Effective immediately, Kimberly M. Gardner will end her service as the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney,” the Circuit Attorney’s Office said. “Ms. Gardner has been committed to serving the people of the city of St. Louis and has done all she can to ensure a smooth transition. Further inquiries about ongoing cases can be directed to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.”
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