KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man sues the city’s police department claiming supervisors discriminated against him, mandated officers meet ticket quotas, and told officers to target lower income areas when they wrote violations.
According to the lawsuit, 44-year-old Edward Williams, a 21-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department, claims the department discriminated against him because of his age, disability, and race in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Acts.
Williams, a white man, said he was constantly subjected to racially inflammatory remarks directed at African Americans, and believes his race was a motivating factor as other officers in similar situations weren’t treated the same, and would have reported that behavior to superiors.
He says he reported the discrimination to his supervisors. The lawsuit alleges they did not document or investigate the claims, and instead retaliated against him.
The lawsuit also claims that since 2015, KCPD told Williams and other officers they would be demoted to an overnight shift if they did not fulfill ticket quotas. Williams says the order came from then Police Chief Rick Smith.
The suit claims department leaders implemented a quota requiring officers to stop at least 100 drivers a month. The department made the change because it became illegal to issue ticket quotas, according to the lawsuit.
Williams claims he was also told to work without wearing his department-issued body camera during the two to three hours each day the camera needs to charge, which violates KCPD policy, according to the lawsuit.
In the document, Williams also claims his Captain told officers to write tickets in minority neighborhoods and respond to calls in white neighborhoods because people living there pay taxes to support the police.
Williams also claims he was verbally reprimanded after he stepped in to help victims following a shooting near Westport. The lawsuit claims Williams supervisor told him “he should have stood by and waited” for other officers to show up before helping.
Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves issued a statement Wednesday afternoon addressing the lawsuit.
Our department is dedicated to policing that is both equitable and fair in all aspects of our duties.Chief Stacey Graves, Kansas City Police Department
We do not direct enforcement activities based on demographics.
We do direct traffic enforcement in high crash locations as well as citizen traffic complaint locations.
I find these allegations very concerning and will immediately ensure the Traffic Division is reminded to operate and enforce laws appropriately.
Williams is asking for a jury trial and is seeking actual damages, non-economic damages, costs, fees, interest, and equitable relief, including an enhancement of fees, front pay, expert fees, and other costs.