*Kim Gardner, the first Black woman to be elected St. Louis’ top prosecutor, appeared on “60 Minutes” Sunday to discuss the relentless pushback from the city’s police union and racist death threats she’s received as she tries to enact the reforms promised in her run for office.
After asking St. Louis City Hall to fund an independent office to investigate police shootings, Gardner said she made enemies fast within the law enforcement community.
“We work well with everyday police officers every day,” she told CBS correspondent Bill Whitaker. “But what we have is the police union who basically injects fear and misinformation in the police department.” She continued: “We as law enforcement have to hear the cries for help in the community and deliver. And that’s why I’m not gonna back down. That’s why I’m not gonna kiss the ring of the status quo to keep it a certain way.”
Jeff Roorda, a spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said the circuit attorney wants to second guess police at every turn and that “she’s not a partner with law enforcement.” When pressed on the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—in Louisville and Minneapolis, respectively—Roorda concedes that in some cases, it’s a failure of police training and policy that has led to those deaths. Roorda said cops are treated unfairly and they are simply responding to violent criminals.
“Well, we don’t shoot…we shoot back. I mean, we live in a very violent city,” he said. “And I don’t think it should surprise anybody that sometimes the police who are trying to disrupt that violence become the victim of that violence.”
In Jan. 2020, Gardner sued Roorda, the police union, and others, alleging a racist conspiracy to prevent her from doing her job. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit that September, saying Gardner’s allegations amounted to “a conglomeration of unrelated claims and conclusory statements supported by very few facts.”
During the segment, reporter Whitaker was handed a “week’s worth of hate mail” that had been delivered to Gardner’s office, directing slurs at the circuit attorney and saying she—and her family—should be killed.
“Well, you know, I signed up for this. But what frightens me is, now, it’s calls to my family, and I’m afraid that a loved one may be harmed because I took this job,” she said.
Watch the full interview above.