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Kansas City Police Investigate Possible Misconduct, Excessive Force

Tom Porto

A 24-year-old Mexican American man has filed an excessive force lawsuit against three Kansas City police officers, alleging assault, battery and conspiracy during an arrest caught on police dash-cam video.

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating the May 2, 2014, arrest of Manuel Palacio as a criminal case of police misconduct.  

The nearly 19-minute video shows a surprised Palacio, who was walking down Independence Ave., at Cypress, being rammed with a police cruiser and knocked to the ground.

After officers jumped from their cruiser, weapons drawn and pointed at Palacio, he was punched in the ribs, kicked, spit on, and threatened with “going to the hospital.” The commands are laced with expletives and at one point, an officer called Palacio a racial epithet generally reserved for blacks.

Through it all, Palacio, who was a suspect in a robbery, yells, “I didn’t do nothing!” He was unarmed and didn’t resist arrest. The video shows officers finding an ATM card on Palacio, who was accused of robbing from a man at knifepoint.

Named in the lawsuit are Shannon Hansen, Jacob Harris and Sgt. Todd Hall. Hansen is no longer employed by the police department and Harris and Hall are on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation, said Capt. Tye Grant of the Kansas City Police Department.

“The department became aware of a possible case of police misconduct several weeks ago. KCPD immediately initiated a criminal investigation, and it is ongoing at this time,” Grant wrote in a press release.

Hansen and Harris were riding together, according to the lawsuit. Hall was singled out in the suit for conspiracy for allegedly failing to intervene in the incident and failing to make an internal report.

Palacio’s suit demands a jury trial, saying he suffered assault, battery, emotional distress and psychological harm. He pleaded guilty to stealing and is serving time in prison, said his attorney, Tom Porto. Although he didn't require hospitalization, Palacio was injured, he said. 

"He was still obviously very sore from the beating and in his mug shot he has a black eye with cuts above and around the eye," Porto said. "I’m seeking accountability."

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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