KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saying she lacks confidence in his commitment, competency and compassion, the president of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City is calling on Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith to resign.
“We believe that Chief Smith’s abuse of power and the board of commissioners’ complicity in obstructing change, the time has come for sweeping structural reforms in the Kansas City Police Department,” Gwen Grant said in a virtual news conference on Zoom.
Much of the criticism directed at Smith centered around his officer’s actions during this week’s protests on the Country Club Plaza.
Grant and others expressed outrage at the department’s response to the viral video depicting officers spraying a protester at close range.
“And this morning, in the newspaper, Chief Smith defended those officers,” Grant said. “And we are on CNN, the Don Lemon show. I saw it in the news cycle this morning. It’s everywhere. But according to our mayor, Chief Smith is doing a fabulous job.”
Lora McDonald with the activist group More2 went further.
“And we have a police chief that had the audacity to defend those actions in front of the whole world today,” McDonald said. “We should be ashamed of that. This is America.”
At a protest march Wednesday night, Smith responded to the calls for him to resign.
“There’s people who are happy with me, and there’s others that are not, and I completely get that,” Smith said. “I think I have an important job to do. I love my job. I’m dedicated to doing it and serving the city.”