KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During a Kansas City, Missouri, city council meeting, the number of complaints filed against KCPD officers was brought to attention.
The numbers were requested by a city council member, Ryana Parks-Shaw, who questioned Cpt. John Simons with KCPD on what is being done to hold some of those officers accountable.
According to the data she received from KCPD, 220 police officers have had between one and five complaints filed against them, 36 officers have had 10-14 complaints filed against them and eight officers have had more than 15 complaints filed against them.
Parks-Shaw said these were redacted numbers she requested shortly after the demonstrations started as people complained of police brutality.
Parks-Shaw said more than 10 complaints should be alarming.
"What are we doing to hold those officers who have 10 or more complaints accountable?" Parks-Shaw asked. "What are we doing to get those officers the training, the help and holding them accountable?"
Simons responded that his first question when he saw those numbers was have all of the complaints been substantiated? He said you have to look deeper into the numbers to make sure the full story is being presented.
"As a young officer I was active and I received many complaints myself," Simons said. "I would target certain individuals who were heavily involved in crime and creating chaos in neighborhoods."
Simons told council members many of the complaints he received were not substantiated because those individuals learned the system.
"They also know there is a mechanism in place that if they start targeting us and making complaints against us, we would probably back off," Simons said. "A lot of times that's worse and it scares officers, and quite frankly, I see scared officers today."
Simons told city council members he is scared the city will start to lose good officers because of the climate we are in, saying many officers are "scared to do their jobs."
Parks-Shaw responded saying she understands what police officers deal with on a daily basis, and this process is not about attacking all officers.
"We are going to stand behind those good officers, but those bad actors, those bad police officers, need to be held accountable," Parks-Shaw said.
She, along with council member Brandon Ellington, said it's their responsibility as the city council to answer the questions their constituents are asking them when it comes to police brutality and holding officers accountable.
Mayor Quinton Lucas says the briefings KCPD provides to city council members are helpful as they move forward. He told Simons the questions don't come out of a position of disrespect.
"We respect the work you do, I think everybody on city council respects the work you do," Lucas said. "But it's our job to say, we need to do better."