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Kansas City Police agree to pay $1.5 million after officers killed man being used as 'human shield'

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Two Kansas City police officers fired at least 17 rounds that resulted in 19 bullet wounds to Robert White, who had been held as a human shield, according to the lawsuit filed by his parents.

The lawsuit was brought by the parents of Robert White, who appeared to have been randomly assaulted by Timothy Mosley on the afternoon of June 14, 2018, while White was seated at a table at Barney Allis Plaza. White, who was unarmed, was shot at least 15 times by KCPD officers.

The Kansas City Police Department has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the parents of a man fatally shot by police in 2018 at Barney Allis Plaza.

A private security firm has also agreed to settle the case, but that settlement is confidential.

The lawsuit was brought by Denise White and Mark Randall Draper, the parents of Robert White, who appeared to have been randomly assaulted by Timothy Mosley on the afternoon of June 14, 2018, while White was seated at a table at Barney Allis Plaza.

According to the lawsuit, Mosley had been acting “off the wall” and talking about “people with guns," and had been asked to leave the Marriott Hotel across the street.

He commandeered a golf cart occupied by a security officer for United American Security, which was hired to provide security for Barney Allis Plaza.

At gunpoint, Mosley allegedly ordered the officer in the golf cart to drive him over to the table where White was sitting. Mosley then attacked White, beating him over the head for nearly 10 minutes with a weapon.

The officer, meanwhile, fled the scene and belatedly notified United American Security, which eventually alerted police.

Two KCPD officers arrived at the scene and joined a third, who was showing up for his off-duty shift at the Marriott Hotel. The lawsuit alleges that as the three officers approached with guns drawn, Mosley — who had a gun in his hand — grabbed White and used him as a "human shield."

Two of the officers began firing, and one of them hit White, who was unarmed, at least 15 times. The two fired at least 17 rounds, according to the lawsuit, resulting in 19 bullet wounds.

Ten bullets were recovered from White’s body and five from Mosley’s.

The lawsuit alleged that as White was bleeding profusely, one of the officers rolled him onto his stomach, placed him in handcuffs and then “viciously stepped” on his right arm. By that time, other officers had arrived on the scene, but none rendered aid to White for more than 5.5 minutes.

White, who was 34 years old, died, as did Mosley, 33.

Kansas City attorney William Denning, who represented White’s mother, said the parents were “happy that they were able to reach a resolution with the Kansas City Police Department and the other defendant.”

“It’s an emotional case where everybody, obviously two officers from the Kansas city police department, were involved in a shooting of an individual that’s being used as a human shield,” Denning said. “So it's an emotional case for the mother and the father, as well as those officers.”

Denning said White's parents were also pleased that “Robert was able to be given a voice.”

“He was an innocent bystander that day … Obviously the loss of an adult child is always emotional for anybody and, under the circumstances here, it makes it even more emotional for these parents. So this gives them some kind of solace and hopefully closure.”

Donna Drake, a spokeswoman for the police department, told KCUR in an email that “[e]very officer-involved shooting is difficult for all involved including members of the police department.”

“Any loss of life is tragic and our hearts go out to the family involved,” Drake said. “In regard to the lawsuit filed in this incident, we participated and sought a resolution. We reached a resolution and continue to wish those involved the best.”

United American Security officials could not be reached for comment.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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