KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several people have been arrested after a night of protests that turned violent, prompting a scathing response on social media from Mayor Quinton Lucas.
“I went downtown last night and was disappointed to see the efforts by folks working their hardest to distort and distract,” Lucas stated on Facebook. “Defacing a monument to police officers killed in duty, tearing up public buildings that our primarily black employees are cleaning the next day, throwing explosives at a door to intimidate the lady working by the door at night… None of those actions tell this black man you care about me or my family’s struggle.”
Protests began midday yesterday, July 17, as residents voiced their dissatisfaction with “Operation LeGend.” The federal operation, named after the death of 4-year-old LeGend Taliffero, will bring 225 law enforcement agents to Kansas City.
Taliffero was killed by a drive-by shooting while he slept inside his apartment in late June. His death sparked a community outcry against increasing violence in the city, which gained the attention of Gov. Mike Parson and, ultimately, the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some activists have raised concern that “Operation LeGend” is not what the community wants or needs, especially in a time where law enforcement has come under increased scrutiny. Protests lasted into the evening. Police said that 150 people gathered at the Kansas City Police Department headquarters last night to march in the area.
Protesters were seen throwing fireworks at near the police headquarters and lighting fires while holding Black Lives Matter signs. Some in the crowd defaced a memorial for the 119 KCPD officers who have died while serving by spray painting it with profanity. Police said many names inscribed on the statue were African American officers.
“Several were arrested for property damage and assault on officers,” KCPD stated on Twitter. “Officers’ injuries are minor and one protestor (sic) was injured when they tripped and fell while running.”
Mayor Lucas said he believes many of the instigators are fake allies causing destruction to get attention.
“If you’re about a movement, be about the people you’re fighting for,” Lucas stated. “If you’re about a fad, violence, acting a fool, or having something to do one summer while the rest of us face issues for a lifetime, please just go somewhere else.”