The Circuit Attorney’s Office (CAO) handles state-level criminal matters, as a function of state government. The CAO is separate and independent from all other City of St. Louis government agencies including the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD).
After the SLMPD adopted a new protocol related to police officer-involved shootings in September 2014, the CAO agreed to conduct an independent review of police officer-involved shootings occurring in the City of St. Louis, resulting in injury or death. These reviews occur after, and are fully independent of, an investigation undertaken by the SLMPD’s Force Investigation Unit (FIU).
Upon receipt of all documents, witness statements, evidence and information from the SLMPD, the CAO embarks on a thorough and separate review of the facts and circumstances of any police shooting where a person has been injured or killed. As defined by law, the CAO may elect to utilize the legal functions of the grand jury to solely investigate a case. CAO staff may also conduct the investigation themselves. The decision regarding a course of action is determined on a case-by-case basis. The CAO may utilize all legal investigative tools for its independent review. Prosecutors may conduct additional interviews with all witnesses, subpoena witnesses to testify before the grand jury, collect and/or analyze physical and forensic evidence and apply all available evidence to current Missouri laws.
The role of the CAO in conducting these reviews is to determine if a criminal violation of Missouri law has occurred and if such violation can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Prosecutors will not make comments regarding the efficacy of police policies, procedures, training or other aspects of police conduct outside of the laws of the State of Missouri. Additionally, the findings of this office bear no weight on potential disciplinary or civil litigation in these matters.
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