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Racism in the Kansas City Police Department goes back decades

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Kansas City, MO police investigate a crime scene on Troost near 35th Street in November 2020.
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR
Lack of diversity among members of the Kansas City Police Department has has helped foster a hostile environment for Black officers and recruits.

An investigation by The Kansas City Star uncovered racism and discrimination against Black officers and detectives within the ranks of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.

Current and former Black police officers and recruits assert they were subjected to racism, discrimination and unequal disciplinary actions by the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.

Journalists involved in a yearlong investigation of the department detailed conditions and events experienced by Black members of the force.

"Black officers maintained that there should be more Black supervisors, more people they can turn to when things go awry," said Luke Nozicka, one of the reporters who wrote about it for The Star.

From 1954 to 1964, Alvin Brooks served as an officer then detective with the KCPD and in 2010 was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners. Brooks called during the program to report similar concerns when he was involved with the department.

"I raised that issue when I was on the police department as well as an issue when I was a member of the Board of Police Commission," Brooks said. "I'm just shocked that here in 2020 that the situation has not changed."

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz
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