SLU Law Professor: Gardner's use of KKK Act "creative"

Wooden gavel lying on table by judge's chair in courtroom
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed a lawsuit Monday that claims the defendants -- the city, the St. Louis Police Officers Association and others -- violated the so-called Ku Klux Klan Act by allegedly engaging in a racist conspiracy to force her from office and prevent her from reforming racist practices.Gardner is black; the named defendants are white.The Act was signed in 1871 to help enforce the 14th Amendment, which had been ratified three years earlier. Gardner's lawsuit cites racist Facebook posts by St. Louis police officers, and claims the police union went "out of its way" to support white officers accused of violence and excessive force against blacks.Anders Walker, a St. Louis University Law School professor, says the Act also allowed federal charges to be filed against Klansmen who did more than just violate the civil rights acts of former slaves -- it allowed federal authorities to go after those who donned their hoods and costumes and rode around at night, raping, setting fires and killing."[Gardner] really needs to prove that the police and the courts are secretly meeting, wearing hoods, and they've got an actual conspiracy going on," Walker said. "Otherwise, it could be dismissed.""It's certainly creative," Walker said when asked if invoking the KKK Act is appropriate in this instance. "It's hard to compare, even if everything Circuit Attorney Gardner alleges is true, that there's some nasty messages posted on Facebook and so on, it's hard to compare that to what was going on in South Carolina in the 1970s."The Associated Press contributed to this report© 2020 KMOX (Entercom). All rights reserved.