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Charges Against Two Kansas City Policemen Upgraded To Felonies In Beating Of Transgender Woman

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Two Kansas City Police officers have been indicted for felony excessive force in the beating of Breona Hill in May 2019.

The two officers were indicted in May on misdemeanor charges in the beating of Breona “Briya” Hill, but a grand jury upped the charges to felonies after two law enforcement trainers said the officers’ actions weren’t justified.

Excessive force charges against two Kansas City police officers were upgraded Friday to felonies in the severe beating last year of a Black transgender woman.

Matthew Brummett, 37, and Charles Prichard, 47, were indicted in May on misdemeanor charges in the beating of Breona “Briya” Hill, a 30-year-old Kansas City woman. A videotape from the arrest in May 2019 showed them slamming her face against a concrete sidewalk, kneeing her in the face, torso and ribs, and forcing her arms over her head while handcuffed.

After they were charged in May, two more unnamed witnesses stepped forward, both law enforcement trainers, according to the superseding indictment released by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office. One witness was a former lead defensive tactics instructor at the Regional Police Academy and the other was a former defensive tactics instructor.

After seeing the videotape in media reports, both witnesses said there were issues with what the officers did and their actions were not justified, the prosecutor’s office said. Brummett and Prichard subsequently underwent retraining.

The officers were called to a beauty supply store in May 2019 when the owner asked for Hill to be removed. Brummett and Prichard said Hill resisted arrest. Hill was killed in an unrelated October 2019 shooting in a home near 43rd Street and Hardesty Avenue. A man has been charged in her death.

The superseding indictment says the prosecutor’s office also received photos of Hill after she left the hospital, her eyes swollen and injuries across her face. Days after Hill’s arrest, a prosecutor who met with her said she was still injured and winced when she moved.

If convicted, Brummett and Prichard could face between two and four years in prison.

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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