St. Louis prosecutor refusing to take criminal cases from over two dozen police officers
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A St. Louis prosecutor handed over a list of more than two dozen city police officers, saying she will refuse to take criminal cases from them over credibility issues.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner calls the ban on 28 police officers an “exclusion list,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday.

She will no longer accept criminal cases from the officers and is reviewing any open cases they’re tied to for “viability.”

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Gardner wrote in a statement that the Circuit Attorney’s Office has “the responsibility to defend the integrity of the criminal justice system. Police officers play an important role in the criminal justice system, and the credibility of officers is one of the most important attributes of the job.

“To do our jobs properly and legally, we must have confidence in the accuracy and honesty of the oral and written reports of police officers. A police officer's word, and the complete veracity of that word, is fundamentally necessary to doing the job. Therefore, any break in trust must be approached with deep concern,” the statement continued.

Gardner delivered the “exclusion list” on Tuesday to the police department, the newspaper noted.

Her move comes amid increased tensions between prosecutors and the city’s police department.

Gardner requested $1.3 million from the Board of Aldermen’s public safety committee last year to organize an independent team to probe police shootings in St. Louis. She wanted the team to investigate all use-of-force incidents out of fear that the department's investigations were biased, the Post-Dispatch reported.

“It is no longer acceptable for police to be investigating themselves,” Gardner said in October.

Her proposal came weeks after former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Anthony Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithReport on new threats targeting our elections should serve as a wake-up call to public, policymakers Overnight Energy: Watchdog faults EPA over Pruitt security costs | Court walks back order on enforcing chemical plant rule | IG office to probe truck pollution study St. Louis prosecutor refusing to take criminal cases from over two dozen police officers MORE.

Smith was killed in 2011 after a high-speed chase during an attempted arrest for a suspected drug deal.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden acknowledged receiving Gardner’s list in a statement, adding that the department was seeking legal guidance.

“While we are seeking legal guidance on how this affects the police division, we have also taken steps to notify each of the involved employees,” Hayden said in a statement.  “At this time, we are considering how best to proceed and what if any actions to take.”

He then directed all further questions to the Circuit Attorney’s office.

The Post-Dispatch obtained an email Hayden sent to the colonels and majors in his department.

It instructed leaders to remind officers named on the list to follow the department’s principles “and perform their responsibilities as outlined in all established policies and procedures.”

The email said he was consulting the legal division to determine what Gardner’s list legally means for the 28 individuals named.

Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, said the union was “surprised and alarmed” by Gardner’s list.

Roorda, who is named on the list, suggested that officers who asserted their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination were added to the list.

He told the newspaper that the list was “dangerous” to officers’ reputations and the public if prosecutors will refuse to handle cases from those officers.

Roorda said the Circuit Attorney’s Office was disciplining officers on the list without “due process.”

The "exclusion list" of officers was not released to the public.