Metro pastor hosts forum to help young black men interact with police

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Police and community leaders held a panel discussion on what to do when stopped by police.

It started with the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., but ended with problems with police relations right here in Kansas City.

“I've been a victim of racial profiling, I filed a complaint. It went nowhere,” attendee Vern Brown said.

Dozens of men, mothers and their sons piled into St. James United Methodist Church on Saturday afternoon to have a panel discussion on what to do when you're stopped by police.

The public forum started with tips like do what the officer asks and don't allow the situation to escalate.

But during the Q&A session, it quickly transitioned into testimonies of personal experiences with Kansas City police officers.

A local woman asked a question with tears streaming down her face.

"How do we know we are under arrest if they never tell us we are under arrest?" the woman asked. "What gives an officer the right to drag you out physically and take your cell phone and delete footage off of your cell phone?"

Robert Kuehl with the Kansas City Police Department immediately answered her question and said he knew of her complaint.

"I wanted to let you know they do have to tell you you're under arrest. They have to say, 'You are under arrest for X.' I actually became aware of your incident about 1:30 in the morning when I happened to be checking my emails," Kuehl said. "And at 1:30 this morning, on my own time, I forwarded that to the division commander to start looking into it."
         
Many attendees left without asking their questions or sharing their story.

Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III hopes to start holding similar forums on a monthly basis.

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