KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several dozen people spent Sunday night in tents on the south lawn of Kansas City, Missouri, City Hall as part of an occupation-style protest calling on the city to reform its police department.
The group has dubbed the south lawn “The People’s City.” Overnight, it used projectors to light up the side of the building with the words “Fire [police Chief] Rick Smith.”
The group set up camp over the weekend. The arrest of a pregnant woman last week helped spark the protest.
In a viral video of the woman’s arrest, an officer can be seen with his knee on the woman’s back while she lies on her stomach. A police spokesman said the officer "stated he took care not to apply pressure with his legs."
Local attorney Stacy Shaw is one of the occupying group’s leaders. She listed the group’s demands as follows:
- Fire KCPD Chief Rick Smith and the officer involved in the incident with the pregnant woman.
- Fire "all officers who have killed Black victims in Kansas City."
- Divest 50% of KCPD's budget.
- Reinvest KCPD's budget into resources that support the Black community.
“It takes a lot of effort to come out and continue to do this because every time I come out I have to get emotionally ready for this,” said Steveland Young, a protestor.
The occupation appears well-organized, with a registration table, equipment, food and a structured leadership.
KCPD said Chief Smith has no plans to resign.