KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second time, the family of Ryan Stokes is heading to appeals court.
This week, a panel of three judges heard their arguments in the 8th circuit court of appeals in St. Louis.
“Really all we are fighting for at this point is Ryan’s right, his family’s right to have a trial before a jury and to see if someone should be held accountable,” said Brian McCallister who represents the family from McCallister Law Firm. “It will be nine years, July 28 of 2022, since Ryan was killed. Nine years.”
The 24-year-old was killed during a night out in the Power & Light District in 2013. He was falsely accused of stealing a cellphone and according to the officer, believed to have a gun at the time of the shooting.
Neither were true.
William Thompson, the Kansas City police officer who shot and killed Stokes, was granted qualified immunity and the shooting was deemed justifiable.
The family hopes the judges will reverse this decision.
“Our trial judge in 2018 said that we deserved to go to trial and prove our case. We went up on appeal after that decision, the court said you need to do your analysis again. When it came back, the same trial judge reversed himself and said, you don’t deserve to go to trial. It’s a very unusual scenario. Never had this happen in 33 years of practice,” McCallister said.
After hearing the arguments, the judge’s decision is expected within the next six months.
The Stokes family say they are hopeful.
“I still believe they can make change for a broken system. It is time for the truth to come out. My son was wrongfully killed. He was shot in the back. There is no reason to justify that murder,” said the mother of Ryan Stokes, Narene Stokes.