KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Westport property owner Bill Nigro said he doesn’t believe the entertainment district should be paying civil rights monitors to oversee security at metal detector checkpoints.
The monitors are there to make sure there’s no racial profiling going on when it comes to who’s allowed into the pedestrian-only part of the district on weekends.
Nigro said the money the Westport Entertainment District spends on the monitors is a waste though.
“As a result, it’s costing us a lot of security personnel that we could have on the perimeter dealing with our issues,” Nigro said Monday.
Nigro’s interview came just three days after a shooting at Johnny Kaw’s Yard Bar on Friday morning. Police said the shots were fired from the World Market parking lot. Two men were hit outside the bar. A woman was hit inside.
“I think it gives us the ability to put more people on the perimeter and scare people off,” Nigro said when asked if he thought not having to pay a civil rights monitor would have prevented Friday morning’s shooting. “Having security out there is a deterrent to crime.”
On Friday night, metal detector screenings started again within the Westport Entertainment District, but the World Market parking lot is outside that perimeter.
Nigro said the district hires civil rights monitors from AdHoc Group Against Crime to make sure there’s no racial profiling. Westport spokeswoman Stacey McBride confirmed that Monday.
“Everybody walks through the metal detector,” Nigro said. “It’s impossible for us to profile because everybody walks through.”
Not everyone agrees with Nigro though.
McBride said Westport’s success is “largely attributed to its welcoming and inclusive atmosphere,” and the civil rights monitors are a part of that. She also said the board has reviewed a number of times whether to continue using the monitors at the metal detectors, and the board has decided on their own that they want them to continue.
AdHoc Group Against Crime spokesman Damon Daniel declined to speak with FOX4 on camera. He did say the district pays them yearly. He said the amounts vary, but it’s less than $100,000.
📲 Download the FOX4 News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for FOX4 email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on fox4kc.com for Kansas City and all of Kansas and Missouri.