© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Now-retired KCK police detective Roger Golubski has been accused of putting an innocent man in jail and terrorizing Black women for decades. KCUR 89.3 and the Midwest Newsroom will continue to follow developments.

Kansas City, Kansas, empowered police to exploit and humiliate Black community, lawsuit says

Roger Golubski, left, the former Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective accused of sexual assault and other crimes, walks into the federal courthouse in Topeka with his attorney, Chris Joseph, in June 2023.
Peggy Lowe
KCUR 89.3
Roger Golubski, left, the former Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective accused of sexual assault and other crimes, walks into the federal courthouse in Topeka with his attorney, Chris Joseph, in June 2023.

In an explosive new federal lawsuit, five women say the Unified Government knowingly allowed "dirty cops" to sexually exploit them, among numerous other crimes. The lawsuit names disgraced former detective Roger Golubski, who is already facing federal charges, as well as a former police chief who now serves as the U.S. Marshal in Kansas.

Five Black women have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, alleging that officials permitted an “open and notorious police protection racket” to victimize the Black community while detectives committed “regular acts of humiliation and exploitation."

Filed late Friday, the 138-page suit names four former Kansas City, Kansas, Police chiefs and three detectives — including disgraced former detective Roger Golubski, who already faces two federal criminal cases accusing him of sexual assault and protecting a sex trafficking ring of underage girls.

According to the lawsuit, from before 1992 through 2006 the Unified Government knowingly permitted Golubski and others “to kidnap, coerce, pressure, sexually assault, and rape Black women in violation of clearly established constitutional rights." The alleged crimes also included selling drugs, gambling, sex trafficking, prostitution and trafficking stolen goods.

In addition to Golubski, named in the case are Terry Ziegler, a former chief and Golubski’s partner; Tom Dailey, chief from 1989-1994; and James Swafford, chief from 1995 until 2000.

Ronald Miller, who is currently the U.S. Marshal in Kansas, is also named in the lawsuit. He was the KCKPD Chief from 2000 to 2006 and supervised Golubski, along with detectives Michael Kill, Clayton Bye, and Dennis Ware, who are also named in the lawsuit.

The suit says Golubski was corrupt from the time he graduated from the police academy in 1975.

“Golubski covered up gang killings; received money, drugs, and women from gangs under his protection; provided advance notice of police raids; shook down lower-level street dealers to extract compensation; openly and notoriously raped and sexually assaulted non-gang citizens; and assisted in trafficking women, including minors,” the suit says.

But the lawsuit also targets Zeigler, who retired in July 2019 after a former police cadet said she was fired for reporting she was sexually assaulted by a supervisor.

Zeigler was also under investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at the time for allegedly “double-dipping” when he took time off to work on a lake house he leased from the Unified Government.

"Zeigler protected and enabled the protection racket, fostered a culture of unlawful and unethical police conduct, failed to discipline or otherwise prevent the unlawful conduct detailed herein, and otherwise ensured the conduct he knew was occurring was not stopped and instead was protected from oversight or discipline,” the suit says.

The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, 700 Minnesota 700 Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.
Julie Denesha
The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, 700 Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

The lawsuit describes Kill, Bye and Ware as “dirty cops” who aided “the protection racket by fabricating false evidence and testimony, enforcing ultimatums and threats on innocent civilians, and shaking down drug dealers to extort and collect ‘protection’ payments, including stolen goods."

Starting in the 1980s, the suit says, Golubski and the other detectives “haunted Quindaro Boulevard and the housing projects in the north end of KCK, hunting Black women and taking what they wanted."

By falsely painting murders as “Black-on-Black crime,” it gave Unified Government leaders political cover and the illusion that KCKPD were doing their job, the suit says.

Krystal McFeders, the Unified Government's public information officer, declined to respond. "The Unified Government is unable to comment on any pending litigation," she said.

Golubski's attorney, Chris Joseph, did not return an email seeking comment. Golubski is currently out on house arrest and does not yet have a trial date.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary compensation, and for an order that requires the Unified Government to create and fund supervision and compliance protocols that "prevent, uncover, and stop the sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of the citizens of Wyandotte County."

Who are the women suing Kansas City, Kansas?

Niko Quinn, left, and her nephew, Jornelle Quinn, at Niko’s apartment in 2022. Jornelle is Stacey Quinn’s son, and her picture is on their shirts, as well as that of Doniel Quinn, Niko’s beloved cousin, who was killed in a double homicide April 15, 1994.
Peggy Lowe
KCUR 89.3
Niko Quinn, left, and her nephew, Jornelle Quinn, at Niko’s apartment in 2022. Jornelle is Stacey Quinn’s son, and her picture is on their shirts, as well as that of Doniel Quinn, Niko’s beloved cousin, who was killed in a double homicide April 15, 1994.

Saundra Newsom, 73, still lives in Kansas City, Kansas. She is the mother of Doniel Quinn, who was murdered in a 1994 double homicide, allegedly sanctioned by notorious drug dealer Cecil Brooks.

Lamonte McIntyre, a then-16-year-old high school student, was set up by Golubski and a Wyandotte County prosecutor and was sent to prison for 23 years, according to court documents. He was exonerated in 2017 and won a$12.5 million settlement against the Unified Government in June 2022.

Friday's lawsuit says that Golubski went to Newsom’s home two weeks after her son’s death and propositioned her, asking if she’d ever date a white cop. She said, “hell no,” and he left, but the interaction — and knowing he covered up her son’s murder with McIntyre’s arrest — has haunted her since.

“McIntyre’s conviction reinforced the understanding that defendants held the power of life and death, freedom and incarceration, over KCK’s Black community, including Newsom,” the lawsuit says.

The murder of Newsom’s son has never been prosecuted.

Niko Quinn, 51, of Kansas City, Missouri, was forced by Golubski to give false testimony in the McIntyre case, under threat that she would be jailed and they would take her children.

Quinn and her family witnessed the killing of Donnie Quinn, who was her beloved cousin. Niko says her sister, Stacey, saw the shooting, but was never contacted by Golubski to be a witness because they had a long-time sexual relationship — which began when she was about 16 —and he supplied her with drugs. (Stacey Quinn was killed in 2000.)

Niko Quinn, although threatened and stalked by Golubski, ultimately recanted her testimony and assisted in McIntyre's exoneration case.

“Quinn was frequently told to steer clear of KCKPD generally and Golubski specifically; that Golubski was corrupt, a snake, and a dirty cop; and that despite threats, suspicious deaths, and police raids, Quinn’s uncles had refused to pay for the protection racket’s protection,” the lawsuit says.

Quinn says Golubski assaulted her in Quindaro Park in January 2000 after he warned her about reporting his relationship with Stacey to KCKPD's internal affairs department.

Michelle Houcks, 55, of Kansas City, Missouri, says she was raped by Golubski in September 1992.

The lawsuit alleges Golubski found Houcks in a park, told her she wasn’t safe and said he was taking her home. Instead, he took her to a wooded area, choked her and raped her.

“When Houcks screamed 'Why are you doing this?' Golubski calmly replied, 'Because I can,'" the suit says.

Golubski allegedly warned Houcks against telling anyone and taunted her, “Who would believe you over me?” Golubski said he knew Houcks' brother and would hurt him if she told anyone.

Houcks said she was so scared that she kept the secret for decades.

Richelle Miller, 40, of Topeka, was interrogated for 19 hours in June 2002 by two detectives, Kill and Bye, the lawsuit says.

Kill and Bye allegedly forced Miller to look at the burned body of her late father, and then accused Miller of killing him and having sex with him.

The detectives allegedly told Miller that if she had sex with Kill, the case would go away. She ended up sobbing alone in the fetal position in the interrogation room.

Ophelia Williams, 60, is named by her initials in the first federal indictment against Golubski. After her twin sons were arrested for a double murder in August 1999, Golubski allegedly told Williams he could help her, but instead returned to her house many times and raped her.

The first time she says he did that, the lawsuit says, Williams declared, “This is rape.”

“Golubski responded, 'You’ll like it,' and 'it’ll only take a minute.' During the rape, Golubski kept repeating that he could help her sons,” the suit says.

When Williams said she would report him, Golubski allegedly responded, “Report me to who, the police? I am the police.”

Over the years, Williams has publicly advocated for the victims of Golubski. Along with the group MORE2, she has repeatedly called for a U.S. Department of Justice “pattern-or-practice” investigation" into the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department.

Listen to the KCUR Studios podcast Overlookedabout the allegations against Golubski and corruption inside the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department.

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.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.