KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s FBI Division is joining a nationwide initiative to spread awareness about hate crimes this fall.
The local FBI division hopes the campaign will also draw attention to a longtime Kansas homicide investigation.
The agency said hate crimes are the top priority for the FBI’s civil rights program, but they are historically underreported.
A hate crime is any criminal offense against a person or property motivated by a person’s bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.
“Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim — many times they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community,” the FBI notes.
In Kansas City, the campaign will run from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, and Kansas City-area residents will see more information on local buses.
The initiative will expand to other large cities in Kansas and Missouri in October as well.
As part of the hate crimes campaign, the FBI is also putting up billboards, seeking information in the death of Alonzo Brooks.
Brooks was last seen alive at a 2004 house party outside La Cygne, Kansas. The Gardner man’s body was later found in a creek and was officially ruled a homicide in 2021.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Kansas reopened the investigation in 2019 after it had gone cold for years.
Former U.S. Attorney for Kansas Steve McAllister told FOX4 they believe this was a hate crime. Officials determined he was one of only three Black men at the party of over 100 people.
He rode to the party with friends, and they left without him, leaving Brooks with no ride home. When Brooks didn’t come home the next day, his family called law enforcement.
At the time, the sheriff’s department searched the farmhouse and the nearby creek but didn’t find Brooks.
After he had been missing for about a month, his friends and family organized a search party and found Brooks in just under an hour in the creek.
In the initial investigation, the coroner could not determine a cause of death, and interviews with witnesses didn’t result in any arrests. Eventually the case went cold.
But a new autopsy in 2021 determined some of Brooks’ injuries were inconsistent with normal decomposition.
The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Brooks’ death.
Anyone who might have been at that 2004 house party in La Cygne is asked to reach out to the FBI at 816-512-8200 or anonymously call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. You can also submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
The agency said the smallest detail could be the key to solving this homicide.