Kansas City man pardoned after filming woman’s arrest that led to KCPD officers indicted

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man is pardoned after filming a woman’s arrest last year.

Mayor Quinton Lucas dropped a municipal conviction against Roderick Reed on Thursday in a press conference.

People around the world watched George Floyd beg for air as a bystander filmed. In Kansas City, Roderick Reed found himself in a similar situation. 

“I was in so disbelief. Like, ‘Wow. What to do.’ I was in panic mode,” Reed said. “I didn’t know what to do. I’d never seen nothing like this before.”

In May 2019, he walked by the Beauty Essence store on Brush Creek Boulevard. A store owner had called police, claiming 30-year-old Breonna Hill was causing a disturbance. He saw Hill on the ground, and two officers on top of her.

Reed said police told him to stop filming. He didn’t.

“I stood firm, and I continued to video,” Reed said. “The officer was so upset that I was not afraid to leave like he was telling me to, to keep videoing because I didn’t want him to kill Breonna.”

Breona Hill (Photo courtesy David Smith, Hill’s family attorney)

Reed was ticketed for a traffic violation and failure to obey an unlawful order. A judge threw out the traffic violation, but convicted him of the second.

Last month, Reed’s video led the Jackson County prosecutor to file excessive force charges against Kansas City Police Officers Matthew Brummett and Charles Prichard. Both officers are on administrative leave from the department.

“We’re pardoning Mr. Reed in connection with that incident,” Mayor Lucas said in a press conference Thursday when he dropped Reed’s municipal conviction.

Roderick Reed

“I felt that it’s necessary for us to move on beyond it and ensure that people now that they have a right to film police conduct, and they have a right to make sure that is shared more broadly,” Lucas said.

Reed said he would like the mayor to apologize in person. He believes it would be good for the community during this time of crisis.

However, Reed is glad he stood by what he believed in and kept filming even when it wasn’t easy.

“I feel any good American citizen would have done the same thing. I’m not a hero, even though people look at me as one, but I’m not,” Reed said.

Reed was scheduled to have the charge retried by a jury. He believes because the charge is vacated, the trial will be canceled. 

Breonna Hill was the victim of an unrelated homicide six months after the incident Reed filmed. He said he kept in touch with her for the rest of her life, and the incident with police broke her spirit.

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