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Embattled St. Louis County police chief Mary Barton retires

CLAYTON (AP) — St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton, who has been criticized for her handling of racial discrimination complaints, announced Friday that she will retire.

Barton, who was appointed chief in April 2020, said she would step down after a leave of absence scheduled to begin Sunday. The leave will allow her to continue to be paid while she uses accrued vacation time.

The Board of Police Commissioners and the St. Louis County Council have criticized Barton over her performance, particularly her response to racial discrimination within the department. The Ethical Society of Police, which works for racial and gender equity in St. Louis and St. Louis County and has a largely Black membership, also criticized Barton, who is white.

In response to the criticism, Barton said she was doing her best to make positive changes.

“I have done my job in a professional manner, and I have moved this police department forward,” she said in April. “Myself and the Board of Police Commissioners are committed to moving this police department forward.”

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