Ex-homicide prosecutor to run for St. Louis circuit attorney

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former homicide prosecutor is officially entering the race for St. Louis circuit attorney.

Mary Pat Carl filed Tuesday for the Aug. 4 Democratic primary, in which she will oppose incumbent Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

The two have run against each other before. In 2016, Gardner won the four-person primary with 47 percent of the vote. Carl was second with 24 percent. Gardner was unopposed in the November 2016 general election.

Gardner is black, and several of the city’s top black activists, clergy and other leaders are outspoken supporters.

Carl, who is white, joined the circuit attorney’s office in 2003 and left in 2017, after Gardner’s election. At the time, Carl was the office’s lead homicide prosecutor.

She has pledged to steer first-time non-violent offenders to programs providing job training and education, while holding violent criminals responsible for their actions.

Carl said she made the decision to run last year, when more than a dozen St. Louis children were killed by guns.

“Today, our city needs to know that together, we can restore competence and confidence in the Circuit Attorney’s Office,” Carl said in a statement.

Gardner drew national attention in 2018 when she charged then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, with felony invasion of privacy, alleging that he took an unauthorized and compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair. The charge was eventually dropped, and Greitens resigned in June 2018.

Gardner has also been frequently at odds with St. Louis police. She developed an “exclusion list” of more than two dozen officers she barred from serving as primary witnesses in criminal cases over what Gardner called credibility concerns, a move that angered police Chief John Hayden.

In January, Gardner filed a civil rights lawsuit that accused the city, the local police union and others of a coordinated and racist conspiracy aimed at forcing her out of office.

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