Award for Kansas City officer who shot, killed man in 2013 rescinded, police say

Posted at 12:40 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 18:32:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Monday, the Kansas City, Missouri Board of Police Commissioners rescinded an award given to a police officer who shot and killed a man in 2013.

The request came from Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith.

"There's different accounts, and we have to make sure that those are accurate whether it'd be an award or investigation," Smith said. 

Officer William Thompson and his partner, Officer Tamara Jones, received certificates of commendation after the fatal shooting of Ryan Stokes on July 28, 2013. Police believed that Stokes, 24, was armed with a gun when he was shot near the Power and Light District. 

"Well virtually everything that they've said in that parking lot was untrue," said Cyndy Short, an attorney for Stokes' family. 

Since the shooting, Stokes’ family has been vocal about wanting an investigation into Thompson’s actions that night. They became even more vocal after the officers received certificates of commendation. 

"If that first night if they had walked up to her and her front yard to tell her about the death of her son, if they had had the courtesy to tell her the truth that night it would have allowed her to heal," Short said.

On Monday, Short said that the speech given with the award seeped with inaccuracies. 

"That is not a statement that I believe or this board believes that the officers acted unlawfully that's an entirely different issue that's up for debate right now and in the federal court of law," said Nathan Garrett, President of the KCMO Board of Police Commissioners. 

A police spokesperson said in a statement:

"A review of the award revealed inaccurate information had been submitted. Based on this review it was determined that the facts did not support the award and it was rescinded. The members that received the award were in full agreement with the award being rescinded."

"I think they went further than normal in a lawsuit; this was the first time in five years they made any comment," Short said. "To start with a comment that this award is inaccurate that it should have not been given is a pretty strong first statement so we're happy that they have made that step."

The fatal shooting is the subject of a lawsuit moving through federal court. Short said oral arguments are expected to occur in November.