KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City will wipe criminal charges for more than 200 people arrested during recent protests.
For more than two weeks, demonstrators packed Kansas City streets to protest against police brutality.
“I’ve just always been raised to be politically active and involved and wanted to go be part of it. So I made myself a little sign and went down there,” said Jessica Merritt, a protester who was arrested.
In the first weekend of rallies, May 29 through June 2, hundreds of police officers responded. At times, the dynamic became tense, with officers firing tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds. Police were also attacked, and some businesses vandalized. But the vast majority of demonstrators were not violent.
“We’re saying we want law enforcement to check themselves, and we want our citizens to be respectful and have the rights to engage in their Constitutional rights,” Kansas City council member Brandon Ellington said.
Even still, more than 200 people were arrested. Most of them were charged with “failing to obey police orders.”
Damian Platt was among them and said he wasn’t even part of the protest.
“I was pretty much in awe that it happened to me because I wasn’t protesting. I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I was just passing out water to people that were probably thirsty and had been out there all day, and I was treated pretty unprofessionally,” Platt said.
Demonstrators are now immensely thankful the city council is wiping away their municipal charges.
“That’s definitely in order. I believe it only makes sense because these people weren’t doing anything wrong,” Platt said.
Twenty-five different offenses will not be eligible for dismissal in the ordinance the council passed, including violent acts, property damage and theft. Any county, state or federal charges also still apply.
KCPD has said all arrest records and mugshots of protesters will be deleted. Most protesters will also be eligible to get bail money paid refunded.