St. Louis prosecutor Kimberly Gardner criticized for dropping charges against rioters, releasing them

Robert Patrick

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — The more than 30 people arrested during two nights of protests in St. Louis have been released from jail, a police spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The release of the 36 drew a rebuke from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who criticized city prosecutors.

Two were released after being issued a summons and the remainder were released while police apply for charges or after prosecutors refused charges, the spokeswoman, Michelle Woodling, said in an email.

Police have sought charges from Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner in two cases, Gardner spokeswoman Allison Hawk said. Prosecutors refused charges in both cases, asking police for more follow-up investigation.

Schmitt, a Republican, took to Twitter on Wednesday to lash out at Gardner, a Democrat, blaming her for the release.

“In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters arrested were released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner,” he tweeted, along with a video showing a street scene with a burning vehicle and audible gunshots.

Not immediately charging many of the offenders allowed them to be released after 24 hours, Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle said. He did not immediately respond to a question about why Schmitt said Gardner was responsible for releasing all 36, and who bore the responsibility.

The charges against the 36 include trespassing, burglary, causing property damage, stealing and assault. They range in age from 17 to 36 but the majority of them are teens and people in their 20s.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.


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