Instead of setting out to protect the community, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has turned her prosecutor’s office into a social justice laboratory to reduce the incarceration of minorities, with the help of a far-left George Soros-linked group.
That’s the picture that emerges from a new Fox News Digital investigation, which found Gardner had brought in the Soros-backed Vera Institute of Justice shortly after taking office in 2017 “to aid an ‘aggressive’ ideological reform” in St. Louis prosecutions.
Vera, says Fox News, “trained Gardner’s office to address the disparities in the justice system.”
The Vera Institute, says Fox, maintains, in its own words, that the “criminal legal system has been a tool of racial oppression and social control … of Black people. … As some of the most powerful actors in the system, prosecutors have a responsibility to work to rectify that impact. Prosecutors should … repair harms caused by the system … They should also dramatically shift the policies, practices, and organizational culture of their offices to address racial disparities and ensure respect for the inherent dignity of all people.”
The institute says it developed training to make the case that “mass incarceration is a problem, and prosecutors have the power to change it.”
Of course, that belies the fact that there is no such thing as “mass incarceration,” since every criminal case stands or falls on its own merit.
Yet, Fox says The Vera Institute trained Gardner’s staff to believe that “an over-reliance on incarceration does not make communities safer.”
Gardner herself has infamously boasted that in 2018 she declined to prosecute 64% of the cases brought to her office.
Her odd refusal to prosecute crimes has been a long-simmering cauldron of dread in murder-bent St. Louis. But it’s a pot that recently boiled over, after a suspected armed robber Gardner has yet to take to trial in a 2020 case caused a Feb. 18 crash that resulted in a bystander, a teen girl volleyball player from out of town, losing both her legs.
Now the reason for Gardner’s bizarre decision to avoid prosecuting crimes may have been laid bare.
“In order to enter into a ‘Motion for Justice’ partnership with Vera and get its support,” Fox reports, “DA offices must commit to reducing racial disparities by at least 20%. In order to accomplish this, partnering DA’s must promise to, for example, ignore criminal histories when prosecuting repeat offenders.”
Gardner’s and Vera’s secretive alliance led to an analytics dashboard to “dismantle” and “disrupt” the criminal justice system in St. Louis, Fox says.
Vera analyzed criminal justice system numbers along racial lines and gave Gardner policy recommendations to suppress racial disparities in prosecutions, which Gardner then implemented, Fox reported.
One key metric was apparently using prosecutorial discretion – in this instance, declining to prosecute cases due to racial impact – as a method of, in Vera’s words, “determining whether the office is actively shrinking the criminal legal system’s footprint.”
“We will continue the fight to remedy harms the system has caused to black people across our city,” Fox quoted Gardner as having said. “I, a Black woman from one of the most challenged neighborhoods in St. Louis, commi[t] … to reserve incarceration for only the most serious offenses.”
In an August 2021 article, Fox noted that “Gardner was already under fire after three murder cases fell apart on her watch and records show that the turnover of prosecutors in her office is greater than 100%. Now, records show her office has been dropping felony cases at a rate more than double the years before she took office.”
More recently, Fox wrote it was unclear whether Vera’s recommendations had a part in Gardner’s peculiar decision to put some police officers on an “exclusion list” and to refuse to prosecute their cases without proof from other sources.
Perhaps as a result of Gardner’s actively trying to reduce prosecutions, crime has ballooned on her watch, Fox noted, with St. Louis seeing near-record murder rates and last year being named the most dangerous city in the country by WalletHub.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has filed a petition asking a judge to remove Gardner from office.