Kansas City and police board granted more time to form funding arguments

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The wheels of justice are turning in Kansas City, but how long will it take?

Friday, the Board of Police Commissioners filed suit against Mayor Quinton Lucas, City Manager Brian Platt, and members of the City Council.

Legal experts said they could be in for a long fight. Possibly up to a year. The suit was filed in Jackson County Court, but it will most likely head to at least the state Supreme Court.

Former Jackson County assistant prosecutor, Phil LeVota, said cases like this one are complex.

“The city of Kansas City is one of the only cities in the nation that still has a setup like this, where they do not have low control of their police department. So this isn’t something that’s gonna happen overnight,” LeVota said.

Judge Kevin Harrell ordered a stay, which both sides requested. It gives the city two weeks to respond to the board’s lawsuit, and gives everyone time to prepare. It also stops the city from changing how money is spent during the order.

“The city has to pay for any expenditures that the board of police commissioners have incurred since the April 21 budget. So they can’t just stop writing a check. The state order says you still have to keep paying for the expenditures that the board has incurred,” LeVota said.

“Enough is enough,” Melissa Robey said. She’s the head of the national organization We Back Blue. Wednesday, she and others in Kansas City will rally to show support to KCPD during this legal battle.

“It gives a voice where there isn’t one, our police officers can’t stand on the side of the street and say which political spectrum they fall on, because they, they have to be bipartisan, so they don’t have a voice,” Robey said.

Wednesday in St. Louis, republican lawmakers will rally to call on Governor Mike Parson to hold a special session of the state legislature. They believe steps like Lucas’ are efforts to defund the police.

Lucas said in a statement he and the city’s legal team worked through the weekend on their defense, and are looking forward to their day in court.

“Kansas City will fight vigorously this effort to keep our hands tied in solving one of our greatest challenges for decades. Kansas City will fight to shine light on best practices and community collaboration with our police officers, rather than stay in the dark about where taxpayer money goes, what we’re doing, and how the hell we can once and for all get out of this situation.  We have a murder problem and it’s getting worse. I’m committed to solving it, even if it takes us going all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”

Both parties are scheduled to be back in the courtroom in July.

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