Saturday, June 06, 2020

Taking A Page From The Obama Playbook, Mayor Quinton Played Black And Said A Lot Of Words...,


kmbc |  After an emergency meeting of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, police Chief Rick Smith has been ordered to conduct a review of the use of tear gas and other projectiles during the protests at the Country Club Plaza.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also announced a series of sweeping changes into how KCPD investigates itself, including creating whistleblower protections within the department and creating a process where outside agencies will investigate use of force complaints and officer-involved shootings.

 In a related note, Lucas said he is signing a pardon order for Roderick Reed, the man who was cited for failing to obey a lawful order by KCPD when he videotaped police arresting Breona Hill in 2019. Lucas said he is also considering pardons on nonviolent offenses – such as stepping off the sidewalk and not complying with a police order – related to the protests.

“Accountability is always important for 21st century policing,” Lucas said. “It will be important in Kansas City.

“It also recognizes that this moment is not about individual protests on the plaza or in Kansas City. But, instead, how we can modernize policing, how we can build trust between police and our communities, and frankly, how we can help solve many of the challenges we have in Kansas City’s violent crime.”

Lucas did reiterate that Smith “continues to be our police chief and will continue in that position as we weather our current crisis and also as we continue to address our issues related to violent crime and the high number of homicides in Kansas City.”

With the investigation into the police's use of tear gas against protesters on the plaza, Lucas said he hopes the review will help the department come up with policy approaches for the future.

"This is me speaking personally," Lucas said. "Materials and other projectiles should be used only in situations where there is an imminent threat to the life of the officer or others in an environment. We had some discussion on what future policies may look like speaking of groups once again. And so it's our view that we wanted to allow the department to come up with policy approaches for the use of tear gas and the use of other projectiles."

The set of reforms Lucas laid out within the department includes having all officer-involved shootings referred to outside agencies, including the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney's office or the Missouri Highway Patrol.

“All officer-involved shootings will be reviewed by an outside agency – every one – even in situations where it appears the officers conduct is justified,” Lucas said. “We will make sure that there is an external third-party review that has a chance to make sure that there is sufficient accountability for all.”