Faith leaders want next Kansas City police chief committed to fighting racism
Accusations of racism in the Kansas City, Missouri police department have faith leaders calling for a culture change as the Board of Police Commissioners searches for a new chief of police.
As the search for retiring Chief of Police Rick Smith's replacement gets underway, clergy members are urging that it be a candidate from outside the department who will have zero tolerance for racism.
In a yearlong investigation by The Kansas City Star numerous former and current employees of the department accused fellow officers of racist behavior. Community members of color have also voiced concerns of harassment, discrimination and bias policing. Now faith leaders are asking for a change and for an investigation by the Department of Justice.
Pastor Emanuel Cleaver III says he was told there are current policies in place regarding discrimination, "but if they're already in place, that means they're not being followed," he said. The pastor of St. James United Methodist Church continued, "And so perhaps more than structure, it's more of a culture within the KCPD."