In Kansas City, Missouri, a white police officer has filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City Police Department. This includes accusations that some officers in the division use racist language. It also claims they force badge bearers to use racist policing tactics.
In mid-March, Officer Edward Williams filed the lawsuit in Jackson County Court. The 21-year police force veteran said that KCPD officers were told to only respond to distress calls from majorly white neighborhoods. Williams also said they were directed to target minority neighborhoods when issuing tickets.
A report from the NPR said officers were told it was easier to write up numerous citations during traffic stops in minority neighborhoods. The report also said officers were threatened with unfavorable shifts or told they would be removed from the traffic unit if they did not meet their quotas.
According to the complainant, Former Kansas City police chief Rick Smith spearheaded this behavior until his retirement. Last week, the current chief, Stacey Graves, said the squad does not enforce laws based on demographics. Officer Williams said he was retaliated against for being a whistle blower. He also said he was discriminated against after an injury and is seeking monetary damages.
For years, the Kansas City Police Department has been plagued with racism accusations. According to The Kansas City Star, police data shows the KCPD used violence over 130 times in the 2020 summer protests. In 2021, there was more outrage when police killed a black man at a convenience store.
That same year, civil rights organizations like the Urban League of Greater Kansas City petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice. They signed a letter asking the department to investigate reports of racism and violence against people of color.
In September 2022, the DOJ announced it had begun an investigation into racist hiring practices and treatment of black officers.
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