‘It gives us a glimmer of hope’: Local group reacts to KCK Police Chief Terry Zeigler’s retirement

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Some of the most vocal critics of Kansas City, Kansas Police Chief Terry Zeigler are speaking out following news of his retirement.

The group, MORE2, who is responsible for multiple protests and community meetings over the past few months.

"It gives us a glimmer of hope," said Community Organizer and Leader for MORE2, Khadijah Hardaway.

The group said they believe they had some impact on the chief's decision to retire.

In early June, the group calling for the immediate termination of the chief, organizing a protest in downtown KCK, attended by dozens.

The group says they are fighting for what they say it decades of misconduct" by the KCKPD.

But even in light of this announcement, the group says they still have a long way to go.

"It`s a very small victory, when we address the magnitude of the problem within the police department and the authority they carry, it`s a small victory. We have a long fight ahead of us," Hardaway said.

The group, MORE2 often pointing to the case of Lamonte Mcintyre, who was exonerated following a 23-year sentence for a murder he didn't commit.

McIntyre and his mother, Rose also filed a lawsuit claiming a former detective tried to force Rose into a sexual relationship, and when she refused, he framed her son, Lamonte for murder.

The lawsuit is still pending.

"It's been an immense reaction to Lamonte's case, I continue to see it to this day," Mcintyre's attorney Cheryl Pilate said.

While Pilate said she and her client are not directly involved with the group more squared, they encourage people to speak up.

"I think it`s important for people to know, if they come together, and speak with a strong voice, it is possible to be heard by a governmental agency, sometimes we lose that belief, that accountability is possible, and achieving change it possible," said Pilate.

The group says they will continue to push their initiatives. They are still fighting for an independent investigation into the  KCK Police Department, and hoping for transparency with hiring the new chief.

They are also continuing to push their hotline: 913-228-3007. They hope their new hotline will offer a place where survivors can share their stories and be connected to the appropriate services.

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In a full statement, the group says:

Yesterday, Leaders with Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2met with Wyandotte County Unified Government Mayor David Alvey to reiterate their demands for police accountability, first of which was the dismissal of KCK Chief of Police Terry Zeigler, due to a long patter of disregard and cover up towards instances of sexual violence perpetrated by law enforcement officers.  Today, Chief Zeigler announced his retirement, effective this fall.  

MORE2 celebrates the opportunity a change of leadership offers the Kansas City, KS community to begin the process of moving forward and establishing a new era of trust between the entire community and law enforcement. 

We are hopeful that the Mayor hears the outcry of the community and will move forward with further accountability reforms like calling for an independent and outside investigation, establishing a bilingual hotline that is fully independent of the police department, and instructing KCKPD to cease extra and unnecessary restrictions on processing U-visas. 

We are also hopeful, given the cloud of mistrust and need to chart a new path, that the Mayor will recognize the need to hire from outside the KCKPD with a record of transparency and accountability when looking for the next chief.

Today is a victory for survivors of sexual violence in Wyandotte County, and MORE2 is proud to stand alongside them in the ongoing fight for justice.

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