The tragic deaths of Nicholas Gilbert and Donald Ray Clark at the hand of law enforcement were precursors to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Unfortunately, Gilbert and Clark did not receive the national exposure as Floyd and Taylor. Regardless, the subsequent incidents have given Gilbert’s and Clark’s families new hope and captured the attention of the public and City Officials. “The City of St. Louis has continued to argue in court that its officers did nothing wrong,” but Mayor Tishaura Jones’s chief of staff, Jared Boyd, recently announced the Mayor “is taking steps to reconsider the city’s legal position.”
Mayor Jones will be appointing a new city counselor to evaluate their legal position in law enforcement abuse and misconduct cases. In addition, she recently proposed the assembly of the Office of Public Accountability. The civilian-run office would give its members “subpoena power to investigate all major cases of abuse and misconduct by police and corrections officers.”
The decision to create this new Office was influenced by failed reforms, set into place after the 2014 Ferguson protests. Additionally, influences have been drawn from St. Louis City’s position in several civil rights lawsuits against the City for imprudent actions and behavior of police and corrections officers. Amongst those lawsuits is Nicholas Gilbert’s. Gilbert died from asphyxiation after corrections officers held him on the ground in the prone position for over fifteen minutes, while his hands and legs were already shackled. Attorney for the Plaintiff and his family, Kevin Carnie Jr., stated,
“I’ve been shocked that the city has continued to pursue the case. They say they are shocked by George Floyd, but they are not upset about what happened in their own backyard.”
“My client is happy to hear that the city is taking a fresh, closer look at this case. Hopefully, the city will implement a much-needed change in policy and training as a result.” Kevin Carnie Jr., in response to the City reconsidering their legal position.
The full St. Louis NPR reports can be viewed here:
To read more about Nicholas Gilbert’s case click here: