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Police officer shot inside Wellston market

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell hugs a North County Police Cooperative officer in front of Clay's Wellston Food Market Restaurant on Sunday, June 23, 2019, in Wellston at the scene where a North County Cooperative police officer was shot inside the market. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

Regarding “In wake of Langsdorf shooting, Bell’s behavior deplorable” (June 30): From the outset, and with good reason, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell campaigned against the death penalty, an unfair and arbitrary practice that does not deter violent crime. Bell also meets with the family of every murder victim, explaining his position. As to the defendants in Officer Michael Langsdorf’s case, Bell is resolute in paying tribute to Langsdorf while ensuring those responsible face justice.

Some criticize Bell no matter what, feigning surprise that we will not now seek the death penalty, and using words like “deplorable” to describe the creation of an independent unit to investigate claims of wrongful conviction and police misconduct. The vast majority in law enforcement serve honorably and Bell has created a positive working relationship with officers that did not previously exist.

As prosecutors, we take an oath that includes addressing the wrongs of the past and misconduct. Attempting to twist that oath by disrespecting Officer Langsdorf’s memory is ridiculous and offensive.

I have known Bell for years. St. Louis County overwhelmingly demanded change in the last election because voters saw in Bell what I see in my good friend. It compelled me to leave a lucrative private practice to help him make this county safe. He’s the most honest, determined, passionate, compassionate and honorable man I know.

Sam Alton • Clayton

Chief of Staff for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell