A congregation of supporters for embattled Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner rallied Thursday around her stance and in protest of the city counselor’s lawsuit against her, calling for his firing by the mayor.
In the most recent proceedings of an ongoing seemingly racially and politically charged legal skirmish that started with Gardner’s prosecution of then-governor Eric Greitens, the circuit attorney has been hit with a new case and gag order.
The lawsuit, presented to a federal judge by St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, seeks to stop the funding of Garner’s office in a prior case.
This case was filed after the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved Gardner’s funding to defend her office, specifically former FBI agent Williams Tisaby. He has been charged and indicted on perjury charges.
“They decided they were going to go after Tisaby and stand on his shoulders to put their foot on the neck of our circuit attorney,” said Aldolphus Pruitt, president of the local NAACP.
While the gag order forbids Gardner to talk about the case, her supporters were loud and clear Thursday on the steps of City Hall.
Armed with a megaphone, they yelled, chanted and hoisted signs for about an hour.
Most them believe that Gardner’s legal battle is backlash for her going after Greitens and refusing to back down.
“They’re just hoping that her lawyers won’t have the patience to wait that lawsuit out,” said John Chasnoff, of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression.
“We think that was the most blatant attack on her right at the moment and the one that needs immediate redressing, so we’re calling for his resignation today,” Chasnoff explained.
Another CAPCR member, Jamala Rogers, was one of four rallying and protesting who took the megaphone to address the crowd.
She started by saying the ongoing battle wasn’t about Kim.
“We’re looking at the bigger picture, because if it wasn’t Kim, it would be someone else,” Rogers said, speaking of what she sees at backlash against Gardner for taking on Greitens and rogue police.
“So what Kim has tried to do over the last two years, is to take St. Louis and Missouri into the 21st century, but some people don’t want to go with us, y’all,” she said.
“Some people want us to stay back there, women taking notes, not prosecuting criminals, but we’re saying those days are over,” she continued. “We’re raising the bar; equal justice under the law – that’s what Kim is trying to do.”
Rogers finished her turn by saying, “It’s not an attack on Kim, it’s a community attack, but we want Kim to know that we put her up there, and we didn’t leave her alone, we’re here to stay.”
Gardner’s supporters then took to the street, heading north on Tucker Boulevard and west up Market Street into rush-hour traffic.
Coming full circle, they marched around City Hall, going south down 14th Street, then east on Spruce Street and back to Tucker. There they circled twice, stopping traffic at Tucker and Market near the courthouse.
Some drivers blew their horns in support while others blew theirs in order to pass the demonstrators’ obstruction of traffic.
A town hall meeting, also in Gardner’s support, was held Saturday at Wohl Community Center in north St. Louis. Gardner attended that meeting.
“I thank you, I appreciate you,” Gardner told her supporters.
“It’s not about me, it’s about each and every one of you,” Gardner said, vowing to fight and drawing applause.
Summing up her battle, she said, “The system has been unfair to certain groups of people, and now they’re showing that they’re also unfair in the prosecutor’s office.”
Gardner also called out Mayor Lyda Krewson. Krewson is the lone member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment who didn’t vote in favor of funding Gardner’s case. The remaining two, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed and Comptroller Darlene Green, voted in favor of funding for Gardner.