KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City Council committee is agreeing to drop many charges filed against protesters after a four-hour hearing, where dozens both for and against the idea spoke out.
The measure initially called for all municipal citations issued in designated areas of the city during the first weekend of protests to be dismissed.
“Black and brown people were disproportionately and wrongfully targeted for arrest due to explicit, systematic racism and we will fight til every protester has been acquitted,” one person said.
Council members also heard accounts of people who were arrested for stepping off sidewalks.
One woman said while she was demonstrating, that she was unable to hear police commands over the bullhorn, and when she tried to ask what they were being told, found herself in handcuffs.
“Protests have been peaceful since police left. Since last week, we’ve been completely peaceful. We’ve at times obstructed traffic, yes, but the point of these protests is to get your attention. And there have been no other issues since police left and de-escalated,” she said.
But the police union and several KCPD wives spoke out, saying any tickets issued should stand, because the actions of some protesters put police in danger and they fear eliminating charges sends the wrong message.
“If you start letting the little things go, then that gives way for people to get brave and push the limits with bigger things,” one officer wife said.
“If you think it’s okay to be spit on, and cussed at, then you’re part of the problem. Let’s move on. There’s law and order for a reason. These officers react,” another officer wife said.
Councilwoman Andrea Bough came up with a slight compromise, creating a specific list of charges that should still stand, including any violent offenses, theft, property damage, and anything not linked to protesters at all that happened to occur during the same time frame and locations, like child and sexual abuse, or violations of domestic protective orders.
The committee passed the amended ordinance, excluding certain charges from being tossed. The proposal now heads to the full city council for consideration.