City leader claims group of teens unfairly targeted in Plaza curfew arrests

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Summertime crowds of rowdy teens on the Plaza have always proved to be problematic for many shoppers.

"They're always in big groups. They're kind of loud. It's pretty obnoxious," Katie Paynter said who lives near the Plaza.

Last summer, more than a dozen teens were cited for causing problems on the Plaza and violating the city's entertainment district curfew. Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed said Tuesday new data he obtained from Kansas City police shows 87 percent of the teens cited between May and September of 2013 were black.

"When I look at this information, it does give me a great deal of pause in terms of doing what's right for the citizens of Kansas City," Reed said.

According to documents obtained by Councilman Reed, 16 teens were issued citations for violating the city's entertainment district curfew law during the summer of 2013. Of those teens cited, 14 of them were black. Reed questions if Kansas City Police Officers are racially profiling Black teens.

The new data also reveals two white teens were issued citations for violating the curfew. Last summer, 41 Action News spoke with Deena Blake, the parent of one of the teens who were cited.

"One hundred percent of the citations were issued to black kids and then I believe that when it came out that that was occurring, they [KCPD] were feeling pressure to find white kids and issue citations and our daughter and her friend fell into that trap," she said.

Tye Grant, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department, provided the following statement:

"We enforce the ordinance as it was written and approved by the city. We cannot control who chooses to violate it and only enforce it against those who do."

In a Public Safety Committee meeting Wednesday morning, Reed and other council members will meet with the Kansas City Police Department to address the entertainment district curfew arrests.

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