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Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The ACLU of Missouri sued former Kansas City police officer Jordan Nelson Thursday for excessive use of force against Joshua Bills in 2013. 

On December 6, 2013, officers were dispatched to Kansas City's Key Coalition neighborhood on reports of a "suspicious person." Bills was walking in that area when two KCPD cars approached with their lights on.

KCPD

In an unexpected move on Monday, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners rescinded an award it had given to a pair of officers involved in the killing of Ryan Stokes as he was leaving the Power & Light District five years ago.

Stokes, 24, was shot by Officer William Thompson, a desk officer who was on special assignment that night in the busy entertainment district, which the KCPD flagged at the time as a "hot spot" with a high potential for crime. Thompson's partner, Officer Tamara Jones, also a desk officer, did not fire her weapon.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, approved $162,000 of funding for a conviction integrity unit, $155,000 of which will go toward the salaries of the unit's three staff members.

The unit will be responsible for investigating alleged wrongful conviction cases, a task which previously fell on the district attorney's desk. 

Segment 1: What is it really like to be a woman in law enforcement?

On this episode, we speak with women from local police departments to hear their perspectives on serving in law enforcement.

  • Sgt. Heather Massey, Liberty Police Department
  • Sgt. Melanie Madonia, Kansas City Police Department
  • Maj. Dawn Layman, Lenexa Police Department

Segment 2, beginning at 37:37: Racial tensions in Westport.

Segment 1: A new documentary illustrates the tension between police and African-American communities.

Black and Blue is a new documentary by Kansas City native Solomon Bass. In it, he follows a former police officer named Donald Carter, who struggles with the question of being both black and a police officer. Solomon Bass joins us to talk about the story behind the documentary.

Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office

A former Leavenworth, Kansas, police officer has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a man last year, the county prosecutor announced on Monday.

Matthew Harrington, 25, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Antonio Garcia, Jr.. Harrington shot Garcia last year while responding to a domestic dispute call. Harrington was fired in January for violating the police department’s use of deadly force policy. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Overland Park has dismissed 200 traffic tickets and refunded $4,000 in fines over an unusual traffic ticket scandal. As a result, three police officers resigned last week, according to Chief Frank Donchez.

What the officers did is a little hard to understand.

“They were writing seatbelt tickets instead of other tickets,” says Donchez.

So even if a driver was speeding or ran a red light, these three officers would just write a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.

Why?

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Clay County is pledging $500,000 over two years to build a Law Enforcement Memorial Garden in Kansas City, Missouri, despite concerns over the budget.

The Clay County Commissioners voted 2-1 today in favor of the funding the memorial in a contentious meeting. Critics worried about pledging money before the 2020 budget process and donating to the memorial after reducing funding to the sheriff’s office.

Jessica Smith seated in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How local activists are reducing student homelessness on the Kansas side of the metro.

Over the last several years a coalition of social services groups in Kansas City, Kansas, operating under the banner Impact Wednesday, have been working to cut in half the number of homeless students in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. Today, we heard how the district is collaborating with Impact Wednesday and volunteer teachers to reach zero homelessness among students by 2020. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department is spending its summer reaching out to some of the younger members of the community.

KCPD wants to improve officers' relationships with teens. “Just because a kid lives at 28th and Prospect versus 135th and State Line, a 13-year-old is a 13-year-old," says Deputy Chief Karl Oakman.

First Liberty Institute

Mary Anne Sause was listening to Michael Savage, the conservative radio show host, when Louisburg, Kansas, police showed up at her apartment door. They’d fielded a complaint that her radio was playing too loud.

The retired nurse didn’t open the door at first. She said she was wary after she’d been raped years earlier. She called a friend, who came over just before the police returned and banged on the door. She opened it but left the screen door locked.

“They wouldn’t tell me what they were there for,” she said. “I was told if I didn’t let them in I would get a ticket.”

A picture of a women with gray hair in KCUR studio. Subject visable from chest up.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Kansas City Police Department shootings raise questions about when it's acceptable for police to use lethal force.

In the course of one afternoon last week, Kansas City police officers shot and killed three people in two separate incidents. The first involved the shooting of a woman in the Northland who was armed with a decorative sword. In the first part of today's program, we heard an eyewitness account of the killing, and discussed when police can and should use deadly force.

Wikimedia Commons

Missouri has at least 4,889 untested rape kits that have yet to be submitted for DNA testing, according to a state audit. 

In 2017, crime labs around the state tested 869 rape kits, which preserve DNA evidence, the audit said. And the Kansas City Police Department had the longest turnaround among more than 250 law enforcement departments.

Segment 1: A look at Childish Gambino's latest music video.

 The single 'This is America' by Childish Gambino has inspired plenty of conversations on race, identity and culture. We take a closer look at the meaning behind both the song and video. 

  • Glenn North, poet
  • David Muhammad, rapper and teacher, Shawnee Mission East

Segment 2, beginning at 22:38: The dangers of profiling of proxy.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The emergency call wait time crisis that troubled Kansas City Police Department commanders last year seems to be easing after a hefty investment by the city.

Last fall, it took 57 seconds, on average, for a call taker to answer a 911 call. KCPD commanders testified before the council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Committee that the wait time was down to 21 seconds as of April.

Independence Police Department

A former crime analyst with the Independence, Missouri, Police Department is suing Chief Brad Halsey and the city for sexual harassment and assault.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges six years of unwanted, "sexually charged" incidents carried out against her by multiple co-workers beginning in 2007.

The accuser is named in the lawsuit, but she has requested KCUR not use her name. It is KCUR's policy not to identify victims in cases of sexual harassment or violence.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 4:20 p.m. Monday:  The committee who interviewed the five candidates for interim sheriff narrowed that list down to three Monday.

  • Retired Kansas City Police Department Chief Darryl Forte
  • Retired KCPD Major Rosilyn Allen
  • Captain Michael Rogers, who commands the Jackson County sheriff’s patrol division

The original post continues below.

If members of a select committee have their way, a more diverse workforce will be coming to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The committee, which was appointed by Jackson County Executive Frank White to give him a recommendation, interviewed five candidates Friday. Two or three finalists are expected to be announced Monday, and White will make the final decision.

Tom Porto

Kansas City, Kansas, police have identified the 27-year-old man shot and killed by an officer Wednesday night as Manuel Palacio.

Officers were attempting to arrest Palacio during a narcotics investigation in the 2400 block of Wood Avenue, when Palacio — who police say was armed — confronted them.

file photo / Kansas News Service

In the last year, the number of Cherokee County children in state custody shot up by roughly half.

The places available for those kids to stay, meanwhile, hasn’t changed.

So that’s meant shipping them two hours away — and regularly taking deputies from the 19-person sheriff’s department off patrol to drive the children to Andover, Kansas — the closest place available with any room.

file photo / Kansas News Service

For years, reporters in the Kansas Capitol press corps and advocates for open government pressed legislators to hide less of the workings of state government from public view.

Now, the Kansas Legislature appears ready to approve changes that would pull back the curtain — at least a tad.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The policies and techniques that are best at keeping drunk drivers off the road.

Last month, the Missouri House of Representatives voted for the second year in a row to cut the state funding for sobriety checkpoints to $1. The plan to catch drunk drivers and keep them off the street? Saturation patrols. Today, we talked about the effectiveness of these options. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. with comments from the county prosecutor.

This story was updated at 2:00 p.m. with information from Sharp's resignation letter.

In a stunning development, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp has admitted to a "personal failing" in connection with a sexual relationship with an employee and has resigned the post he has held since 2009, effective Thursday.

The Kansas Senate has passed a bill that increases the penalties for people who make “swatting” calls.

The bill was sparked by a swatting incident in December in which Andrew Finch was killed by Wichita Police responding to a fake call about a hostage situation at his address.

Swatting involves making a false 911 call to draw law enforcement to an address.

Finch was shot when he came onto his porch to investigate the police activity outside. Police have said Finch disobeyed police commands and was reaching towards his waistband when he was shot.

Henry County Sheriff's Office

Tammy Widger, the 37-year-old Clinton, Missouri, woman who was in the house when police responded to a 911 call resulting in the shooting death of officer Christopher Ryan Morton on March 6, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields announced the new charge on Wednesday.

Last week, Widger was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and keeping a public nuisance, both felonies.

Missouri State Highway Patrol

Henry County 911 Emergency Communications said in a statement late Friday afternoon that a database error may have led to Clinton, Missouri, police officers being sent to the wrong address, where one officer died.

Officer Christopher Ryan Morton was shot and killed while responding to a 911 call Tuesday evening at an address on Grandriver Street in Clinton. Two other officers were wounded by James E. Waters, who was later found dead in the house. The cause of his death is still being investigated.

Missouri Department of Public Safety

It’s still unclear what role technology might have played in the "nightmare" scenario that unfolded in Clinton, Missouri, this week, when an officer was killed responding to a disturbance call after 911 dispatchers gave police an incorrect address.

Andrea Tudhope / File/KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Reporters sort through multiple issues threatening governor's hold on office.

Between a felony indictment, a closed-door House committee investigation and talk of dark money, there is lots to keep up with when it comes to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. We sorted out details of the controversies swirling around the state's most prominent office-holder and what it could mean down the road for Missouri politics.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department could be getting even more money next year than first thought.

While most city department budgets will remain flat next year, KCPD is looking at a $5.6 million, a 2.2 percent boost.

Much of the increase will be used to hire 15 more officers and eight more dispatchers.

The department's 84 dispatchers are all working mandatory 12 hour shifts, according to Deputy Chief Roger Lewis.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

There is so much illegal trash dumping in Kansas City that the city has more than doubled the number of investigators assigned to help clean it up.

The dumps have everything from hazardous waste to limbs and brush.

Illegal dumping investigator Alan Ashurst starts his day like a lot of people, with a stop at a QuikTrip for coffee and doughnuts. "I like the old-fashion doughnut. It’s good."

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

As residents and law enforcement officials in Clinton, Missouri, processed the events leading to a police officer's killing late Tuesday, confusion emerged over why officers had gone to the address where Officer Ryan Morton, 30, was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Henry County 911 operators received a phone call late Tuesday night. According to Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Collin Stosberg, no one was on the other end but operators heard women screaming in the background.

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