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Three Days Of Black Lives Matter Protests Leave Kansas City With Some Damage, Few Immediate Solutions

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Carlos Moreno
A large crowd carrying placards and signs, some bearing the face of George Floyd, face off against a line of police officers on the Country Club Plaza during protests this summer.

Kansas City, like much of the nation, saw a long weekend of demonstrations in response to the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd.

Three days of protests in Kansas City sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis came mostly to an end after a curfew went into effect at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Police and a small crowd of demonstrators faced off until late in the evening along a stretch of Main Street between Cleaver Boulevard and 43rd Street.

For most of the day, however, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully for several hours at Mill Creek Park near the Country Club Plaza, where speakers included U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who called the protests "good and healthy."

Read about Sunday's demonstrations here.

Early in the evening, one group of demonstrators marched north toward 31st Street and Southwest Trafficway, then looped back down Main Street back to the park.

At about 8:30, citing bottles and "items being thrown at officers," police declared the protest "an unlawful assembly" and began using tear gas to scatter the crowd.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas had imposed the 8 p.m. curfew, which covered the Country Club Plaza, Westport, the downtown business district and all city parks, at noon on Sunday. It was set to lift at 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Three days of protests

Demonstrations began at 3 p.m. Friday at the J.C. Nichols Fountain near the Country Club Plaza and continued for seven hours. Police made five arrests and used pepper spray at one point to scatter people. Streets were closed around the Plaza and protesters threw rocks and bottles, breaking windows in nearby businesses and damaging a few police cruisers.

Read about Friday's demonstrations here.

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Carlos Moreno
People scatter amid a cloud of tear gas during demonstrations Saturday night at Kansas City's Country Club Plaza.

Protests began again late Saturday afternoon, but by 9 p.m., 85 people had been arrested and police had used tear gas to disperse the crowd. By midnight, windows at several plaza buildings had been broken, a police cruiser had been burned and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson had issued a state of emergency "due to civil unrest" in Kansas City and St. Louis.

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Carlos Moreno
Kansas City resident Rebecca Smith walks past a smashed display window in a parking garage along Wyandotte Street at the Country Club Plaza.

Read about Saturday's demonstrations here.
At a news conference as the curfew began to take effect on Sunday night, Lucas said the first step in addressing the concerns he had heard from protesters was to "recruit more minority officers" as well as more officers from different parts of the community.

"There will be more answers but that’s a huge one," Lucas said. "You have to have people who know the community, who know the streets they’re patrolling. And so that to me is probably the biggest thing we can do beyond bells and whistles.”

Lucas also called for more diversity training and more training in de-escalation. He said the Board of Police Commissioners needs to review events in Minneapolis and "have a close study of what is excessive force. How are we training people to do things. Is there a better way? We need to make sure we do that consistently. These are steps, things we can do from tomorrow.”

A free press is among our country’s founding principles and most precious resources. As director of content-journalism at KCUR, I want everyone in our part of America to know we see them and we’re listening. I work to make sure the stories we tell and the conversations we convene reflect our complex realities, informing and inspiring all of us to meet the profound challenges of our time. Email me at cj@kcur.org.
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