Statement from Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce:
I understand that this is an emotional and trying time for everyone, however, I am having difficulty understanding the position of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
Our announcement clearly indicated the Circuit Attorney’s Office would be conducting the exact same review as under normal protocol; the Office is simply beginning immediately and expediting the process. This does not change the review, nor does it change the open-minded and objective approach to the investigation. There will be no rush to judgment.
I personally spoke with the Chief of Police prior to announcing the change in the process and he expressed no objections to the new timetable. Furthermore, a top member of my staff also spoke with the leader of the Department’s Force Investigative Unit who, far from being offended, expressed his desire to get started with us Monday morning, pledging full cooperation.
The role of the Circuit Attorney’s Office is to conduct a meticulous, thorough and independent review of the facts and circumstances of officer-involved shootings. Our sole job is to determine if a violation of Missouri law occurred and if such violation can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Our review will be conducted independently of the police investigation. Differences of opinion will occur when agencies are independent. This helps ensure fairness and justice.
I have great regard for the hard working men and women of the police department. I am fully aware that police are much safer on our streets when community tensions are calmed. Expediting the review process is a step towards promoting community trust and public safety.
I am proud to stand with the President of the NAACP as he shares our desire to help bring the community together and encourage witness participation in this process. We appreciate the efforts of all those who work together to ensure safety for everyone in our great city.