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KCPD: Officer in Westport incident used approved technique

Posted at 3:04 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 19:15:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – While residents continue to debate a video from this weekend in Westport showing a Kansas City, Missouri Police officer striking the arm of a woman involved in a fight, KCPD says they’ve received the video and believe the officer followed protocol.

"First interpretation is how sad it is that in KC and in America, we still can't have people go out and have a good time and drink without beating on each other," said Kansas City FOP President Brad Lemon.

The incident, which happened early Sunday morning, was recorded by a bystander who was next to a fight among at least two women

When police intervened, the two women would not stop fighting.

The video shows an officer trying to break up the two women by using a “downward strike” on the wrists of one of the women.

In a release Monday, police said the officer’s actions were an approved technique that officers receive training on.

"If you slowed it down, his hands were opened to do a slap, not some sort of close hand strike, which also would of been okay. But, he was using an opened handed strike, and about halfway down, she released and pulled out and he missed," said Lemon.

Lemon said he knows the video is violent but said the officers did the right thing.

"Force is not pretty. But, that is what we do. There is not a pretty way to stop fights. If there was, we would of been using it 200 years ago," Lemon said. 

One former Kansas City Police Officer, who now teaches at Park University, said officers have to decide quickly what will be in the best interest of everyone around.

"What you are trying to do, separate the people, trying to minimize damage or injury done. Sometimes what is done isn't what the public may look at and say that wasn't pretty, but it was effective," said Dr. John Hamilton, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Park University.

And officers have to be aware they might be taped when violence occurs.

"Look, this is the world and you have to be aware of that. Does it affect how you do your job? It does, but you have to try to put yourself in a position where you focus directly on the situation at hand," said Hamilton.

Police also said in the release that none of the people involved in the incident reported any injuries and no criminal complaints were filed.

After the video was posted, several people reached out to Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady for more information about the incident. On Monday, Canady posted on her Facebook page: 

"Update: As of today the female in this video has not come forward to make a complaint against the officer or to report any injuries. The response below was issued by KCPD today and took into account 2 separate cell phone videos. The officers in the video were not wearing body cameras. I am not aware that any civilian witnesses were interviewed by KCPD in the investigation. Unless the woman that appears to be assaulted comes forward to provide additional facts or additional video is released, this is the outcome of the investigation."