Missouri Faith Leaders Send Letter in Support of Gardner in McCloskey Incident

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Eighty-nine pastors and ministers and rabbis wrote a letter  to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Sen. Josh Hawley saying their attacks on St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner over her decision to charge the Central West End couple were “egregious and targeted.”

They write: “The unwarranted attacks on her personhood and professionalism are extremely alarming in this time of heightened racial unrest.”

The letter also criticizes Schmitt for cases of two black men they say he is ignoring including, one who died in a Missouri Bootheel jail.

“While there has been no hesitation to prejudge the outcome of this case, your voices fall silent when the Circuit Attorney attempts to free Lamar Johnson, a Black man who has sat in prison for 24 years wrongfully convicted of murder. And despite the overwhelming evidence of his innocence, Attorney General Schmitt has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Johnson behind bars. Schmitt has also failed to seek justice for the death of Tory Sanders, a Black man who mysteriously died while in custody of law enforcement, whose only crime was he got lost and was Black.”


Dear Senator Hawley, Governor Parson, and Attorney General Schmitt:

We the undersigned faith and community leaders of the State of Missouri are shocked and dismayed by your egregious, targeted attacks against St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner surrounding her decision to bring charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey. We write to express our unequivocal support for Circuit Attorney Gardner and demand an end to the dangerous rhetoric being used for political gain.

The unwarranted attacks at her personhood and professionalism are extremely alarming in this time of heightened racial unrest. Attorney Gardner is an African American woman being targeted in a racialized and patriarchal attempt to silence a woman who dares to walk in her authority.

The outrage shown over this case exposes a hypocritical view of justice that is defined by political grievances against an African American woman.

The Circuit Attorney is the only one who has investigated the facts of this case, yet you have still clamored to discredit and dismiss the charges before they can even play out in court.

While there has been no hesitation to prejudge the outcome of this case, your voices fall silent when the Circuit Attorney attempts to free Lamar Johnson, a Black man who has sat in prison for 24 years wrongfully convicted of murder. And despite the overwhelming evidence of his innocence, Attorney General Schmitt has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Johnson behind bars. Schmitt has also failed to seek justice for the death of Tory Sanders, a Black man who mysteriously died while in custody of law enforcement, whose only crime was he got lost and was Black.

While you attempt to cloak your campaign of fear and intimidation against Gardner in the name of justice and fairness, your selective vision of justice makes it clear that these are political attacks meant to undermine and intimidate a sitting prosecutor.

The people of St. Louis deserve better. We stand with Circuit Attorney Gardner as she fights for equal justice under the law.

Signed,

Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Executive Director, Missouri Faith Impact, 63112

Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation, 63108

Rabbi Daniel Bogard, Central Reform Congregation, 63108

Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker, 63110

Rev. Antona Brent Smith, Founding Director, ImpactUbuntu, 63122

Rector Rebecca Ragland, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 63111

The Rev. Dr. Theresa Danieley, Priest, Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, 63116

Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause, President, Eden Theological Seminary, 63119

The Reverend John Stratton, 63118

The Reverend Mark Kozielec, 63109

(partial list)

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11 thoughts on “Missouri Faith Leaders Send Letter in Support of Gardner in McCloskey Incident”

  1. Tia Will

    Keith

    David is more generous in his assessment. This article is about a letter in support of the choices and actions of a Circuit Attorney after a case investigation. It is of some interest to me that in the past you have been very supportive of the actions of our own DA, and yet have chosen not to comment about the substance of that letter, the targeting of this CA for abuse

    1. Keith Olsen

      Tia, do you really think this DA would be charging this case if it were a black couple brandishing guns as open the economy protesters walked by their house on the way to the mayor’s house.  If you do I have a bridge for sale.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Old song… “It’s a Strange, Strange World we Live in, Master Jack”… no hard feelings, but I’ll not look back…

      Truly sorry I missed the first six… can only imagine who was NOT deleted, as they have not been, on other threads, despite obvious trolling…

      And yes John, the “faith community”, when ‘real’, defend “the constitution and legal process”, as they, know the ‘costs’ of the failure of those concepts…

  2. John Hobbs

    Alan: The blade of Don cuts deep if not fairly.

    I can guess why someone’s comments were excised, but David’s?

    Good to see that the “faith community” supports the constitution and legal process.

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