KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Civil rights groups on Monday called for a federal investigation of Kansas City, Missouri, police, saying they have a pattern of using excessive force, particularly against Black men.
The Urban Council, a consortium of groups including the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, asked the U.S. Department of Justice to step in, The Kansas City Star reported.
Civil rights leaders also criticized the mostly governor-appointed Board of Police Commissioners, which makes Kansas City one of few major metropolitan hubs in the U.S. without full local police control.
“There exists a lack of accountability on the part of KCPD and no opportunity for redress because we do not have local control,” Kansas City Urban League President and CEO Gwen Grant said in a statement. “Therefore, our only recourse of action is to come together to seek a DOJ investigation into the KCPD.”
A Kansas City police spokesman issued a statement saying the agency is already working with the Justice Department to report possible civil rights violations or excessive force under a 2015 memorandum of understanding.
“We have mechanisms in place to ensure that members can report any incident of discrimination or racism anonymously,” spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina said in an email. “We take every incident of reported racism very seriously and investigate fully whether it involves department members or the members of the community.”
The county prosecutor also supports a Justice Department investigation.
“Kansas City’s police department suffers from many problems identified in cities now in turmoil about their police force,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker wrote to the federal agency. “It has no accountability to our community; it has lost the community’s confidence that excessive force will be rooted out and stopped; and the harm from all of this falls in greatest portion on the city’s minority community.”
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