ST. LOUIS — John Collins-Muhammad has a friend in former police leader Lawrence O'Toole.
O'Toole is a former assistant police chief who also had previously served as interim chief before he retired in May as part of a deal to settle a discrimination lawsuit against the city. On July 22, he weighed in on the high-profile corruption case involving Collins-Muhammad, a former city alderman.
O'Toole wrote to U.S. District Judge Stephen Clark on behalf of Collins-Muhammad, one of three city officials indicted by the feds in June on corruption charges. While writing in support of Collins-Muhammad, O'Toole did not explicitly ask for leniency.
Collins-Muhammad has indicated he's reached a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis, with his attorney previously expecting sentencing this month. The feds accused him and Aldermen Lewis Reed and Jeffrey Boyd of accepting cash bribes in exchange for advancing tax abatement legislation. All pleaded not guilty and have resigned their public offices.
"In the course of my duties with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, both as an Interim Chief and the Assistant Chief, I came to know John Collins-Muhammad on both a personal and professional level," O'Toole wrote to Clark. "He was a conscientious public official dedicated to the health and welfare of not just his constituents but to all the citizens of the City of St. Louis. We have appeared together in many public forums, and had many formal and informal meetings; he always engaged the serious problems confronting the Police Department with compassion, empathy and integrity.
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