New system to investigate claims of civil rights violations is first of its kind

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Law enforcement from local, state and federal agencies announced a new partnership to protect civil rights on Thursday. It is a new system that will be used to investigate claims of civil rights violations leveled at Kansas City police.

The system is called a memorandum of understanding, “MOU” for short. According to U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson, it is the first of its kind in the nation, and represents unprecedented cooperation between federal, state and local agencies.

Dickinson joined top brass from the FBI, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and KCPD to make the announcement. The new procedure, which was put into effect September 23, is a result of high-profile current events that have shaken the public`s trust in the police.

Under this new mechanism, any civil rights violation that is reported against KCPD will immediately be sent to the FBI for investigation. If evidence of a federal violation is found, the case will be sent to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

If investigators find evidence of a state law violation, the case will be handed over to the Jackson County Prosecutor`s Office.

Damon Daniel, executive director of AdHoc Group Against Crime, believes this is a step in the right direction.

“Often times when I am sitting down with an individual who is filing a complaint, one of the things they are most concerned about is who is really going to review this complaint; is it police reviewing these types of things? And this just creates another layer of trust, I think and accountability and transparency,” Daniel said.

Since the procedure was enacted, four cases have been investigated under the MOU. As to who or what was involved, no one would comment on active investigations.

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