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Missouri AG Eric Schmitt sides with BOPC in KCPD funding lawsuit

Schmitt says Lucas' plan is defunding KCPD
Schmitt, Lucas
Posted at 12:55 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 14:08:01-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed an amicus brief Wednesday in response to the ongoing lawsuit between the Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC), KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and other city officials.

In May, Lucas introduced two ordinances that move some of the police department's money into a Community Services fund. The KCMO City Council passed the ordinances the same day.

Lucas' plan reallocates roughly $42 million of KCPD's budget into the new fund. In response the BOPC filed a lawsuit in attempts to overturn the ordinances passed.

In the brief filed Thursday by Schmitt, he called Lucas' plan "defunding the police," and said it was "illegal and bad policy."

He also cited a number of reasons as to why the BOPC is correct in their lawsuit.

Schmitt said Missouri law prevents the KCMO City Council from interfering with KCPD's operations.

"Missouri law is clear: the Kansas City Police Department is 'under the exclusive management and control of the board,'" the briefing claims.

In 2020, KCMO broke the record for the most homicides ever recorded in a year with 176.

Schmitt cited the ongoing violence in KCMO, saying this is yet another reason why KCPD needs additional resources.

Lucas previously also cited the violence in the city as a reason to justify the ordinances.

"What we're doing right now ain't working," Lucas said in May. "It's not just an answer enough to say 'get more law enforcement.' Last year during Operation LeGend, the federal government sent hundreds of federal agents to Kansas City and we still broke a homicide record."

Still, Schmitt said, "The City Council’s illegal and misguided effort to defund the police follows the deadliest year in Kansas City’s history," and said "despite these tragic numbers, the City Council’s Ordinance No. 210466 completely defunds the Central and Metro Patrol Divisions and reduces the East Patrol Division’s budget by 42.5%."

Finally, Schmitt argued that the ordinances are counter productive and harm at-risk communities.