Legal expert says dismissal of veteran assistant attorneys bad move for new county prosecutor

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CLAYTON, MO - It’s only his second day on the job and already incoming St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell is receiving some major backlash.

Bell is changing up some policies in the prosecutor’s office while dismissing three assistant prosecutors who were escorted out of the office by police on Wednesday.

One of the prosecutors, Kathi Alizadeh presented evidence to a grand jury in the Michael Brown investigation and was also handling the case of alleged Catholic Supply Store killer Thomas Bruce.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association, which handles bargaining for most of the County`s assistant prosecutors was quick to react. Their statement in part read:

“The Association is dismayed by the abrupt dismissal of these three veteran prosecutors without warning or apparent justification.

We call on Mr. Bell to reverse his decision and bring back the three prosecutors and their more than seventy years of combined experience.”

The union declined our late day request for an interview.

Attorney Brad Young who has no relation to this matter said that Bell`s move reflects his great deal of inexperience as an elected prosecutor.

“It does not look good,” Young said, “what you would expect from a new prosecutor is to hit the ground running and try to build support and try to build a coalition. What we are seeing are some very amateur mistakes on the front end that would inhibit his ability to build a coalition, not help it."

Attorney Ed McSweeney said that he'd been suspended pending a termination hearing. He said the reason for his suspension was an August Facebook post in which he criticized Bell.

“You have a situation where the supreme court has said, ‘You`re not allowed to punish public sector employees for the content of their speech,’ and yet ostensibly that`s what we see happening with Mr. McSweeney’s case so there will be a lawsuit.”

Assistant prosecutor, Jennifer Coffin was the third employee let go.

Fox 2 reached out to Bell`s office Wednesday night several times asking for an interview but the director of operations, Tim Swope said Bell was not available.

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