St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden had some harsh words for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. During a press conference at St. Louis Police Headquarters, Hayden responded to Gardner’s accusations on the police investigation of the shooting death of St. Louis officer Katlyn Alix.
“Let it be crystal clear that the accusations lodge by the Circuit Attorney, to say the least, was both offensive and insulting to the force investigative unit and myself,” Hayden said in a raised voice and pounding his fists on the podium.
An angry Hayden further defended his investigative team.
“Our Force Investigative Unit and our Internal Affairs Division followed city regulations and department procedures to the letter,” he said. “The accusation by the circuit attorney that any action taken by the members of force investigative unit or by our internal affairs on this tragic morning as an obstructionist tactic was unwarranted, certainly untimely, and absolutely irresponsible!”
His comments were in response to a letter Gardner sent to Hayden and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards. In the letter, Gardner outlines her concerns of the handling of evidence at the scene. In particular, Gardner questions whether police tried to block drug and alcohol testing of two male officers involved after the shooting.
Prosecutors allege that officer Nathaniel Hendren and Alix were playing a deadly game of pointing a gun with one bullet at each other and pulling the trigger when Alix was killed in the early morning hours of January 24th.
Hendren, 29, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was released from jail on Thursday after posting bond.
Hayden would not answer questions about the investigation during the press conference. He said a few minutes before the press conference, Gardner issued a court order requiring him to “be cautious” with his comments.
Hayden did say that procedures were being implemented to monitor the location of on-duty police officers.
“Effective immediately, department commanders will be attending “roll calls” at the beginning of shifts to better keep officers in check,” he said. “Commanders will also verify the locations of all on-duty officers every hour via police radio or GPS.”
At issue, Hendren and the other male officer were on-duty, but for unexplained reasons, they were at one of their apartments when Alix was fatally shot. Alix, 24, was not on duty when she went to the apartment in south St. Louis.
By Missourinet contributor Jill Enders