Kansas City groups continue call for police review board

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — A coalition of civil rights groups in Kansas City continues to call for the creation of an independent citizens review board to monitor and investigate fatal shootings by police officers.
The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/2b47E76 ) reports that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City requested the review board during a monthly Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday. The conference is one of 20 groups that called for reforms.
Police board member Alvin Brooks says the board is created through a Missouri statute and individual commissioners are appointed by the governor. He says that prohibits the board from establishing a separate independent entity to investigate fatal police shootings.
Kansas City police signed an agreement in December that would allow the FBI to help investigate some officer-involved shootings and complaints of excessive force against police officers.
Other proposed reforms include the creation of a safe foot-pursuit policy and the appointment of a victim advocates team that would reach out to victims of police shootings, and mediate between victims and police.
The proposed reforms were prompted by the death of 24-year-old Ryan Stokes, who was fatally shot by a Kansas City police officer in July 2013. Stokes’ mother recently filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that police board policies led to her son’s death.
The coalition has called on Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker to review the shooting. A grand jury did not indict the officer involved in the shooting.
Mayor Sly James, a member of the police board, said the board could not comment on the shooting due to pending litigation.
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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com