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Ladue police officer charged with assault

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell announces the second-degree assault charges against Ladue Police Officer Julia Crews during a press conference on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton. Crews said she accidentally shot a woman accused of shoplifting at Schnucks when she actually meant to use her Taser. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

CLAYTON • The second of three veteran prosecutors Prosecutor Wesley Bell sought to fire in January has reached a settlement that covers six months of back pay and legal bills.

Ed McSweeney was given a discharge letter Jan. 2 saying he had been suspended without pay for criticizing Bell on social media on Aug. 8, the day after Bell defeated Robert McCulloch, a longtime incumbent, in the Democratic primary.  The Riverfront Times reported that McSweeney posted a comment saying “County voters will soon regret what they did.”

"That was not really fair," McSweeney said of Bell's decision to let him go. "He didn't give me a chance."

Bell's office did not comment Tuesday.

The $75,000 settlement, a copy of which McSweeney provided to the Post-Dispatch, says McSweeney received $58,891.28 in back pay through June 28 plus $16,108.72 for his attorney's legal bills. McSweeney agreed to resign effective June 28, which he said makes him eligible to collect a full pension.

McSweeney was an assistant prosecutor and had worked for the county prosecutor's office for 34 years. He earned a $119,974 salary at the time of his suspension. The settlement stipulates that he won't sue the county over Bell's attempt to fire him.

McSweeney, 65, said he is retired except for his job as prosecutor for the city of Glendale, where he lives.

Kathi Alizadeh, another prosecutor dismisssed by Bell in January, reached a $25,000 settlement earlier this year. Alizadeh was a longtime ally of McCulloch and guided the presentation of evidence to the grand jury that in 2014 declined to indict a Ferguson police officer for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Jennifer Coffin, the third prosecutor Bell let go, is fighting her termination through the county's civil service commission.

Joel Currier is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter here: @joelcurrier.