Metro man raises questions about Lenexa police policies after deadly motel shooting

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LENEXA, Kan. — After a recent police shooting, a Lenexa man is raising questions about the department’s policies.

Benjamin Howard said the department’s use of force policy led to tragedy two weeks ago when Lenexa police shot and killed a man on a domestic call.

But a representative for the Lenexa Police Department said they’re transparent and proactive about policing.

On May 25, Lenexa police were called to the Extended Stay America hotel at Switzer Road and Lenexa Drive. The front desk called about a man allegedly hitting a woman in their hotel room.

“It’s going to be in room 213,” a dispatcher can be heard saying in police radio recordings. “Our RP (reporting party) is the front desk clerk. He can hear a male screaming at a female, and the female can be heard screaming in pain.”

Two Lenexa officers shot and killed Darren Chandler who was in town from Nashville. Police said he shot first.

Howard said for the past six months he’s been talking to Lenexa police about their policies.

“The penalty for domestic violence is not death, right?” Howard said “The officers involved did not have the right to execute a man.”

Lenexa Police Chief Dawn Layman said his department is more than transparent with the community. Three times in the past year, they’ve held a workshop for the public to put themselves in an officer’s shoes. Layman said they collaborate with diverse community groups and have officers go beyond the state-required training.

“With proper training and repetition in training, that makes everyone better. That makes them better when they’re answering calls out on the street,” she said.

Howard said he’d like to see reform of their policies, along with the release of body camera video in Chandler’s death.

“I’m not sure who they’re serving, you know. Who’s been who has served in this case? He deserved to go home,” Howard said.

Layman said she’s open to releasing the video.

“You know, I think there’s definitely a story to be told there. I think that it will be good for people to see that video,” she said.

Layman hopes once the investigation is complete, people will understand what happened that day.

“The decedent’s family didn’t expect him not to come home,” she said, “but at the same time I’m thankful that I didn’t have to preside over two officer’s funerals that day, maybe even three, and an innocent victim.”

The shooting is under investigation by the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team, made up of officers from multiple law enforcement agencies from across the county.

Once the investigation is complete, their findings will go to Johnson County Prosecutor Steve Howe.

Layman said she hopes Howe will decide to play the body camera video at a press conference once the investigation is over. Both officers who shot at Chandler are on administrative leave.

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