KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group of protesters and a local attorney are joining forces.
Lead by attorney Stacy Shaw, the group is criticizing the Kansas City Police Department’s response to recent protests at the Country Club Plaza, the use of excessive force and what they believe are unlawful arrests.
“It is time to take real and measurable steps in order to ensure that situations and unlawful arrests like mine and injustices happen to the people you heard before me never happen to a citizen again,” Shaw said.
Shaw was arrested at Tuesday night’s protest while she said she was working as a peacekeeper. She was charged with misdemeanor failure to comply.
Surrounded by other protesters at a press conference Thursday in front of City Hall, Shaw said her experience was not unique.
After six nights of protesting now, nearly 200 people have been arrested for protest-related charges. One of them was Tarence Maddox.
“Those officers, paid to protect and serve, slammed me on the pavement, while using hostile and aggressive language during the arrest,” the former Unified Government commissioner said. “Since the arrest, my life has significantly changed.”
Maddox’s controversial arrest was captured on video, which shows Kansas City police arresting him and pepper spraying the crowd. The video has been viewed thousands of times.
“While voicing my frustration with the current struggle of policing, I was maliciously arrested by the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department,” Maddox said.
“During the arrest, I was met with hostile action by arresting officers. I was approached my multiple officers. Sprayed in my eyes with pepper spray, and then pulled from the crowd and dragged into the street.”
Shaw said she’s calling for action and accountability. She’s made a list of eight demands:
- Immediate dismissal of all nonviolent charges against protesters exercising their constitutional rights.
- Expungement of protesters’ arrest records for protest related charges.
- Immediate modification of existing bonds to remove bond conditions that restrict travel to public or publicly funded placed, including but not limited to the Plaza and the Power and Light District.
- An immediate moratorium on the necessity to post cash bail for non-violent offenses.
- The complete elimination of the cash bail system for non-violent offenses.
- An independent investigation and public inquiry of police conduct during the protests.
- Investigation, discipline and/or termination of officers violating established standards of professionalism.
- Published rules of engagement for all peaceful protests.
“These are demands not only actionable, but we are holding you accountable, not only in the ballot box, but if necessary, the court of law,” Shaw said. “We have heard from our leadership that they hear us, but it is time that they stop placating us.”
Majority of the arrests at Kansas City’s protests have been for unlawful assembly violations and failure to comply.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Bakers issued a statement Thursday denouncing charges filed against non-violent protesters.
Mayor Quinton Lucas is also considering pardons on nonviolent offenses related to protests, such as stepping off the sidewalk and not complying with a police order.
Shaw is offering pro bono services for anyone arrested while protesting. For more information, visit Shaw’s website.