Local activists calling for KCPD chief, officer to be fired after arrest of pregnant woman

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KANSAS CITY, Mo — The most recent call for change at the top of the Kansas City Police Department comes after a pregnant woman was arrested Wednesday night.

Community groups who released a video of the arrest Thursday said they’re concerned about the officer’s actions. On Friday, KCPD also released a video taken by a nearby traffic camera, showing another angle of what happened Wednesday night. 

The video shows a crowd in the gas station parking lot at 35th and Prospect. An employee called police to report that the group would not leave and said a fight broke out.

The video shows police officers telling a man in a red sweatshirt that he needs to leave. KCPD said he refused, came back and was arrested.

That man is Troy Robertson.

“I’m asking him like, ‘We’re having a peace vigil,’ so he end up rushing me,” said Robertson, the man arrested. “He just rushed me, slammed right there and Deja asked, ‘Why are you arresting him?’ And the other officer just grabbed her and swung her and slammed her.”

Police say the pregnant woman tried to pull Robertson away from officers and interfered in the arrest.

Video posted to social media shows a ground level view of the woman’s arrest. Critics say it shows a police officer with his knee in her back as he handcuffs her.

“When you have an individual trying to pull a suspect away from us, we’re making an arrest,” said Brad Lemon, president of the Kansas City police union. “We have to affect arrests.”

But community groups that make up the Police Accountability Task Force call the pregnant woman’s arrest a brutal assault.

“So we are digging in and we are going to fight until justice rolls down like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream,” said the Rev. Rodney Williams, president of the Kansas City chapter of the NAACP.

The group is demanding that the officer who made the arrest — and KCPD Chief Rick Smith — be fired. 

Mayor Quinton Lucas said he has spoken to Smith about the incident. The department is investigating, and this incident doesn’t change the chief’s employment, the mayor said.

“He remains employed by the Board of Police Commissioners,” Lucas said. “I think right now what we’re trying to do is address the many issues Kansas City faces each day. That includes homicides, that includes building relations between the community and the police department and that we take all those steps necessary.”

Lucas said that his statement does not mean that people in the government can not do better and work on enhancing relationships in the community.

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