Two deadly police shootings in KC raise concerns for some about use of deadly force

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two separate deadly police shootings in Kansas City left three people dead last week, and that's left a woman who taught one of those people wondering if the situations could have been handled differently.

Kansas City police say the officers involved in the shooting of a woman with a sword in the Northland and of two men at the Barney Allis Plaza are on routine administrative leave for as long as investigations last.

Police have not released the names of the officers who shot and killed two men in downtown KC last week. Officers said the men were fighting over a gun and a golf cart when one of them started shooting at responding officers. Timothy Mosley and Robert White both died after police returned fire.

"Neither of these men needed to die," said Patti Ferguson-Palmer, one of Mosley's high school teachers.

Ferguson-Palmer taught Mosley in 2001 in Tulsa. She said he was special. That's why she remembers him all these years later and why she's troubled by the way he died.

"This is not the way you handle situations," Ferguson-Palmer said.

But KCPD Chief Rick Smith said the officers did what they thought was necessary.

The Kansas City Police Department's guidelines say officers are authorized to use deadly force in order to protect themselves or others from what they reasonably believe is an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm.

The bigger policy for response to resistance says force may be used only to the extent objectively reasonable to accomplish lawful outcomes and a careful balancing of all human interests is required.

"I don't know why the police couldn't taze them, shoot with rubber bullets or something if they just wanted to break up an altercation," Ferguson-Palmer said. "I don't understand shooting first and asking questions later."

In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Robert White's sister said her brother had mental health issues and hallucinations. KCPD has Crisis Intervention Team officers who are trained in how to best respond to people with mental illnesses. About half the officers in the department have trained in that program.  The department's policy states "CIT members will utilize their training and experience to determine the least confrontational approach to resolve the incident."

But Ferguson-Palmer wonders if that's the approach offers took.

"I think we need answers," she said, "in his honor and in the other man's honor."

When FOX4 asked, police said they didn't have the information about whether the officers involved in the deadly shootings completed CIT training.

In May, Chief Smith mandated all patrol officers under go a two-day mental health awareness and de-escalation training by the end of the year.