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Kansas City, Missouri, community organizers: KCPD funding reform a 'good step' toward solution

Kansas City community organizations
Posted at 3:44 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 16:44:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seven Kansas City, Missouri, community organizations gathered on Tuesday to applaud Mayor Quinton Lucas and the nine council members who last week adopted two ordinances that reformed the city's police department.

The Urban Council of Kansas City, MORE2, the Presbyterian Urban and Immigrant Network, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of greater Kansas City, the National Black United Front - Kansas City and the Urban Summit all gathered on the steps of City Hall.

Their message – Lucas and the council members took a step in the right direction to improve police accountability in the city.

"We applaud the mayor, the city council members who voted for such and all of those who have the moral courage to take the political hits, to be unpopular, the moral courage to do the right thing and we believe that this is it," Dr. Vernon Howard, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of greater Kansas City, said.

The two ordinances passed last week reallocate $42 million from KCPD's budget to a community services prevention fund.

Council members from the Northland have publicly criticized Lucas and the council members who passed the ordinance.

"This is absolutely the worst piece of legislation I've seen since I've been here at city hall," Teresa Loar, 2nd District At-Large councilwoman said last week during a press conference.

However, one member of the community organizers questioned the anger of the Northland council members.

"Those who live up north, we don't hear them getting upset when that police department uses excessive force disproportionately in our community," Gwen Grant, president of the Urban League of Kansas City, said. "They're not upset when police officers kill unarmed Black men in Kansas City. They're not raising hell about that."

On Tuesday morning, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners voted to establish a committee that could potentially pursue litigation against the recent reform.