The 'No Snitching Code' and its impact

Posted at 7:18 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 20:18:43-05

It’s a movement that has moved Kendra Jackson to tears. 

The Kansas City mother lost her son to violence nearly two years ago. 

“It’s cost me a lot of harm and hurt and pain because my son was murdered, in broad daylight in a park, with people around. And the case remains unsolved," Jackson said.

Her son Asaan Williams was just 18 years old and months away from his high school graduation. 

It’s one of many unsolved murders in Kansas City. Jackson County District Attorney Jean Peters Baker said one big problem is not having witnesses come forward. 

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“I have represented those parents many times. I have to call them into my conference room to tell them we can’t file the case because we don’t have enough witnesses to come forward. No snitching usually means no prosecution," Peters Baker said. 

For years Peters Baker has worked alongside officers to try and crack the “code” of the streets. She said it’s only worked for the smallest members of our society. 

“As close as you and I are from one another, that is how far a child has to sit from their bogeyman, and they are still brave enough to come into a courtroom and tell a judge or jury what happened to them,” Peters Baker said.

It’s not that simple for adults. There’s a negative label attached with being a snitch. Many witnesses are also fearful of retaliation. 

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“I’ve seen real acts of intimidation occur in this building, in our courtrooms, I’ve watched it,” Peters Baker told 41 Action News. 

Jackson thinks much more needs to be done to ensure the safety of those witnesses. She said that will help bring closure to many victims and their family members. 

“Because we ask individuals to snitch, but then it’s known they snitch. This individual has to go back and live in the neighborhood, with the same person. The same violent individual that they snitched on, so we all have work to do on both sides," Jackson said. 

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office has teamed up with the ADHOC Group Against Crime. They’ve provided funds to help witnesses who are fearful against retaliation. Peters Baker also wants to work with lawmakers to strengthen the Victim’s Rights Statute.  



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