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KCMO Civil Rights activist alleges 'taxation without representation' from BOPC

KCMO Police HQ
Posted at 8:44 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 11:06:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City Civil Rights activist filed a motion Monday to intervene with the lawsuit filed by the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners against the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

Gwendolyn Grant, the president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, announced that she filed to join the lawsuit on behalf of taxpayers, arguing the Board of Police Commissioners is carrying out "taxation without representation" and violating Missouri's Hancock Amendment.

The board's lawsuit was filed May 28 following the decision by the city council to reallocat $42 million in KCPD funding into a community services fund that can be accessed by the department.

The BOPC lawsuit alleges “efforts to hinder and obstruct the Board’s management and control of the police department’s budget, in violation of state law," and seeks reversal of the ordinance.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said the ordinance is an effort to take power back from Jefferson City, where the State dictates how the Board of Police Commissioners is run and who sits upon the board.

Grant wants to intervene in the lawsuit because she said the board's complaint and the current policing structure violate the Hancock Amendment and that the board diminishes the voting rights of minorities and violates the Equal Protection Clause.

“Today, I filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the Board of Police Commissioners in order to assert my constitutional rights as a Kansas City taxpayer and as an African American,” Grant said. “Enough is enough. Kansas Citians cannot be made to write a blank check to a Board that does not answer to us, is unrepresentative of our needs, and sues our elected officials when they don’t acquiesce to the Board’s every demand.”

Essentially, Grant's announcement outlines how she considers the board to be a state agency - since they are State appointed - and claims that the Hancock Amendment prevents state agencies from forcing cities to allocate funds as directed by the State.

Grant alleges that the board being in charge of allocating police funding is taxation without representation. She also plans to seek payment of attorney fees from the board.