KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One week after Deja, a nine-month pregnant woman, was arrested by Kansas City police near East 35th Street and Prospect Avenue, protesters have been occupying the lawn outside of City Hall.
Marking the seventh day on Thursday, protesters said they will not leave the lawn until their demands are met.
“We will occupy the seat of government right here on this lawn until our demands are met or we are forcibly and violently removed from this property," said Stacy Shaw, local activist and attorney. "Those are our only two options, there will be no negotiation — either our demands are met or they’re not, and if we are violently removed, we will be back the next day."
Protesters are calling for the firing of Chief of Police Rick Smith, as well as the officer who arrested Deja.
“I know the chief has said adamantly that he’s not going anywhere, he does not have any plans to leave, resign or anything like that, so I think that kind of speaks for itself," KCPD spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina said. "As far as the officer, again, that whole situation is undertaking internal review as situations have during the whole course of the existence of KCPD. If disciplinary action is needed against that officer or any of the officers out there, it will be taken."
On Thursday, the City Council was expected to discuss the matter and whether protesters are considered to be trespassing on city property. The meeting lasted one hour, and the situation was not brought up.
If the city considers the gathering to be trespassing, KCPD would be forced to ask protesters to leave the property.
“Basically every business owner in the city has the right to allow someone on their private business, and if they decide that they don’t want someone there or a group of people there, then they can restrict access to their business and City Hall is the same way basically," Becchina said.
KCPD and the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office are both conducting internal reviews of Deja's arrest.
The officer who made the arrest is currently working full-duty.