‘It happens here, too’: Family of KC man killed by police still waiting for answers, seeking justice

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The local case of Donnie Sanders, who was shot and killed by a KCPD police officer in March 2020, is gaining new attention. 

His family is speaking out against police brutality while seeking justice of their own.

“I’m scared because I have two black sons that I ride in the car with every day,” said Shontae Hendricks,” Sanders’ cousin. “What if they pull me over and think my son is reaching for a gun, and he is only 11?”

Police said an officer was making a traffic stop near 52nd Street and Wabash Avenue when Sanders got out the car and ran.

Police initially said Sanders turned toward the officer and allegedly raised his armed like he had a weapon. 

An officer shot and killed Sanders. They later determined he was not armed.

It’s a scenario the family said they heard and saw too many times growing up, but now they’re living it.

“He literally left his girlfriend house at 11 o’ clock at night on Lynwood and Chestnut, to my house on 57th. He never made it to my house. He died right here,” said Sander’s sister, Reshonda Sanders.

“He never carried a gun his whole life. Donnie never carried a gun,” said Donnie’s uncle, Mark Sanders.

The family said it’s been almost three months and they still haven’t gotten any answers from police.

As George Floyd’s story and protests play out around the world, the family hopes their story will also be heard. They want justice, accountability and understanding.

“All we want is justice, just like everybody else,” Hendricks said. “It happens in different states, but right here in Kansas City, in our community, we want people to know it happens here, too.”

A spokesperson from KCPD said the case is under investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the case will be presented to the Jackson County prosecutor for evaluation.

After being placed on administrative leave, the officer, whose name is not being released, is now working in the patrol bureau.

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