KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Roughly 75 Christian clergy members from Kansas City, Missouri, churches are expected to address police brutality during a news conference Wednesday morning outside city hall.
The group bagn at 10 a.m. The announcements are in response to protests in the city and across the country pushing for change after a Minneapolis police officer was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.
The group of clergy members in Kansas City is expected to demand action on the following topics:
- The police end any and all forms of excessive force including but, not limited to, pepper-spraying peaceful protesters
- The establishment of an independent police review board with the authority to act within the next 90 days
- Local control of KCPD
- All officers wear body cameras
- More community programs with KCPD in higher crime areas.
“We stand together to express our anger and frustration over the long history of tension between law enforcement and minority communities,” a press released stated. “Much of the distrust between the black community and the police department is a result of cultural insensitivity and systemic racism.”
The group emphasized that local control of the police department is among the most important, saying that not all districts of the city are represented on the current board of commissioners.
They said they do believe better community involvement in policing will lead to lowered violent crime rates.
The group supported peaceful protests and condemned any violence which comes as a result of the protests.
“We want justice to go viral," one of the clergy shared.
KCPD does have an Office of Community Complaints, an independence civilian board the examines complaints from the public against officers, but community leaders find it insufficient.
"We want to establish an independent board review for police complaints. Right now, what happens is when there is a complaint it is simply turned back over to police," St. James United Methodist Church Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III said. "So, we're (currently) asking the police to police themselves, but we need something independent, a group that actually has authority to do something when some of these complaints come forward."