TOPEKA, Kan. — Some Kansas lawmakers are using the special legislative session as an opportunity to discuss police brutality. Two Democratic House members are bringing up legislation that they say should have been done long ago.
Representative Rui Xu (D-Westwood) introduced a resolution that condemns police brutality, excessive use of force and the use of militarized force in the United States, specifically against people of color.
“I at least wanted something to show that this has a name, it’s recognized, some of us see it, and hopefully we can do something about it,” said Rep. Xu.
While Rep. Xu’s resolution won’t change any laws, Xu has thrown his support, along with other lawmakers, to fellow representative Cindy Holscher, D-Olathe, who is working on a bill that would make changes.
“These are areas that have needed to be addressed for many years,” said Holscher. “We do need to do something about these issues.”
Under Rep. Holscher’s bill, records of police brutality or excessive use of force would be open to the public once the investigation is closed. The bill would also prevent officers who were fired, resigned or retired due to excessive use of force from working for another police department in the state.
“What we see happening is often people get shuffled around where they’ve had one issue at one place then they go to a different place,” explained Holscher.
While any work can be done during a special session, both Xu and Holscher do not anticipate that their bills will be brought up for debate by House leadership.
“There is centuries of angst behind this issue and we’re trying, we really are,” added Xu.
Both Xu and Holscher say they have been frequently hearing from their constituents in recent days.
Holscher said, “My Facebook is flooded with comments from people, I’ve had emails and calls from people really pushing and saying, ‘Why aren’t we doing something?'”
She adds that a good way to see change in your area is to reach out to your elected representatives.
“It always makes a difference when the public is contacting their legislator,” said Holscher.
Xu added, “There are leaders out there that really do truly care about this issue, about racial equity.”