Resumption of eviction hearings in Jackson County prompts protests

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dozens of protesters tried to disrupt operations at the Jackson County courthouse Thursday.

They’re upset that eviction hearings have resumed.

The KC Tenants group blocked doorways to the courthouse and claimed it had disruptors inside the building to stop court hearings taking place on two floors.

At issue is a resumption of eviction hearings, restarting after a shooting in Blue Springs earlier this month.

That shooting happened as sheriff deputies were serving an eviction order.

Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs suspended all eviction activities as part of a cooling off period to ease social unrest and safeguard court employees.

KC Tenants wants all evictions suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are getting evicted in the middle of the pandemic,” said Jenay Manley, one of the protesters. “People can’t afford to work right now. People can’t afford the rent right now. And assistance is not doing nearly enough. And tenants are constantly being evicted during a pandemic, making the numbers higher and literally killing people. We know every eviction is an act of violence.”

The protesters say they will leave if a suspension of evictions is re-imposed.

A federal eviction moratorium has been extended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until March 31.

Tenants must submit a request in writing to their landlord to invoke the moratorium.

Tenants still can be evicted for reasons other than inability to pay.

A spokeswoman for the Jackson County court tells FOX 4 judges are following Missouri landlord-tenant laws that are in force.

Some hearings are being conducted virtually.

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