Prosecutor drops charges against officer in rare restorative justice mediation case

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The St. Louis County District Attorney’s Office said Ashley Fountain Hall had requested that the assault charges be dropped against former Ladue, Missouri police officer Julia Crews, 39. The charges arose out of a dispute that took place on April 23, 2019, outside a Schnucks grocery store.

Teams mistakenly fired his gun instead of using his Taser to restrain Hall and shot him in the chest, resulting in serious injuries, the office said. Hall has lost part of his spleen and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, prosecutors said.

The prosecutor’s office said Crews immediately realized she had drawn her gun as she intended to use her Taser, then administered help and apologized “deeply” . Crews, who was caught crying in his booking photo, immediately resigned, and his response to the shooting “all played a part in the push for mediation,” the office said.

Hall, who has since recovered, received a $ 2 million settlement and lobbied for a restorative justice program.

The prosecutor’s office said Hall and Crews voluntarily participated in a “successful” face-to-face meeting with a mediator, Seema Gajwani, head of the restorative justice program for Karl Racine, attorney general for the District of Columbia.

St. Louis County District Attorney Wesley Bell and Lisa Jones, the office’s director of victim services, were also involved in the process. The method allows an offender to find rehabilitation through reconciliation with the victim.

“It was a unique occasion where the accused immediately realized that she had made a terrible mistake in shooting the victim, and the accused and the victim reached places where they could see a resolution of this. incident outside of the criminal justice process, “said St. Louis County Attorney Wesley Bell. “In this case, justice is done by restorative justice, and that doesn’t happen without Ashley being 100% on board.”

According to a United Nations resolution of 2002, restorative justice is a “process in which the victim and the perpetrator and, if applicable, any other individual or member of the community affected by a crime, together actively participate. the resolution of problems arising from the crime. , usually with the help of a facilitator. ”

“Too often the criminal justice system gets in the way of resolution and healing, even if that’s what these two women wanted and needed. Prosecutor Wesley Bell made this possible by providing restorative justice,” Gajwani said. “Ashley and Julia have the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. It was an honor to be a part of this conversation.”


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