KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two Kansas City police officers are now facing charges for allegedly using excessive force when arresting a transgender woman in May 2019.
A Jackson County grand jury has indicted 37-year-old Officer Matthew Brummett and 47-year-old Officer Charles Prichard.
They both now face charges of fourth-degree assault for recklessly causing physical pain to Breona Hill when arresting her outside a Kansas City beauty supply store on May 24, 2019.
Court documents say the two officers slammed her face against a concrete sidewalk, kneed her in the face, torso and ribs and forced her arms over her head while she was handcuffed.
Before Hill’s arrest outside Beauty Essence, Barber and Beauty Supply Store on Brush Creek Boulevard, the jury foreman’s statement says Hill was involved in some form of dispute with an unknown third party.
She called 911 for help and also asked the store owner to call 911. When doing so, she began using slurs and insulted the store owner, who asked dispatchers to have her removed from the store.
Officers decided to arrest Hill, but she resisted arrest, court documents say. That’s when she was taken to the ground and allegedly assaulted by the officers.
She was taken to KCPD’s East Patrol station and cited for trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the jury’s affidavit, a witness, who took video of the incident, saw an officer strike the woman with a closed fist.
While Hill is on her stomach, the video allegedly shows Brummett and Prichard kneel on top of her torso, ribs and upper back.
Brummett allegedly slammed Hill’s face two times on the concrete and then dropped his knee and a portion of his body weight on her neck and shoulder. The officers then finished handcuffing her.
Court documents say Prichard can be heard on the video saying, “We tried to be easy,” and “You made it this way.” Hill can be heard asking for help and moaning or crying.
Brummett then allegedly stepped on Hill’s hip and pulled her cuffed hands above her hands while she was still on the sidewalk.
Hill does not move after this, according to the jury.
Just before this, Prichard can be heard saying, “You wanna push more?” Hill says, “I didn’t push nobody.” Prichard responds by saying, “Stop it, I’m tired of messin’ with you.”
In addition, Prichard, while pulling/pressing her arms upwards, says, “You’re doing it now.”
Hill can be heard moaning and crying in pain until she goes silent.
A witness took photos of Hill’s injuries after she was taken to the hospital, showing cuts and bruises on her face.
The officers have been summoned to appear before a Jackson County judge in August.
Hill was shot to death in October 2019 at a home on Hardesty Avenue in east Kansas City. A man has been charged in connection to her murder.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the prosecutor’s office was required to put the case before a grand jury after Kansas City Police Department investigators and commanders declined to give them a probable cause statement.
“This case is particularly disappointing that my office was prevented from filing the charge independent of a grand jury,” Baker said.
“I am grateful for the Grand Jurors close attention to this matter,” she added.
Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith issued the following statement late Friday night:
“I was informed today that two officers from the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department were indicted by a Jackson County grand jury. As Chief of Police, it’s my job to hold officers accountable when the facts call for it, and I believe my record as Chief shows how seriously I take that obligation.
“In the current matter, involving misdemeanor charges against two officers, I’ve placed the officers on administrative assignment until the outcome of the proceedings. Investigators determined that there was no probable cause to conclude the officers broke the law. That is why our department did not submit a ‘probable cause’ affidavit to the prosecutor.
“However, we did submit the entire file to federal prosecutors, the FBI, and the county prosecutor. We do that in every matter where someone could possibly allege a civil rights violation.
“All of us want justice. I ask everyone to keep an open mind and let the fact-finding process go forward.”