Battle over KCPD funding continues with KCMO Mayor calling board’s actions ‘wholly without merit’

Battle over KCPD funding continues with KCMO Mayor calling board’s actions ‘wholly without merit’
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The City of Kansas City, Missouri, and Mayor Quinton Lucas have filed yet another response in the ongoing battle over funding of the Kansas City Police Department. The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners voted last month to initiate legal proceedings against the city council, city manager, and Mayor Lucas after an attempt by the city to reallocate funding from the budget of KCPD.Since the passage of two ordinances by the city council that would reallocate more than $42 million of KCPD’s budget for community programs and crime prevention efforts, the measures have been tied up with back-and-forth legal proceedings. The BOPC claims Missouri law gives the board sole oversight of the police budget, with a board member calling actions by the city “a complete ambush” in how the ordinances were introduced and passed.After a Jackson County, Missouri, judge issued a stay in the board’s lawsuit, the board continued, filing a writ this month attempting to force the city to allocate what the city claims is more than one-fifth of its general revenue fund to the board for the police department. The city again counter-filed in court Tuesday, arguing that a writ of this type “would violate Missouri law” as well as “usurp the discretionary authority of City officials.” Mayor Lucas issued a statement along with the filing, calling the board’s complaints “legally and factually false.” Lucas stated since the passage of the ordinances, which were aimed at reducing rising homicide numbers, the board has only worked on court filings, not at building partnerships to reduce crime in the city. “The unelected majority of the Police Board and their outstate allies have claimed many things, but have not worked with the City Council, members of the Police Department, clergy, community leaders, or the neighborhoods most affected by violent crime toward a safer city. Instead, they have pursued litigation that is short on legal foundation, high on hyperbole, and wholly without merit,” Lucas wrote in a lengthy statement. “The Police Board’s legal theories are undermined by the law and the Board’s own annual practices, ignore the plain language of Missouri statutes, and their desired remedy asks the Court to violate the Missouri Constitution.”Lucas went on to state the basis of the board’s suit against the city is “not about protecting the brave women and men in the rank and file of our police department, nor is it about making the community safer.” Lucas writes instead, the board is only attempting to preserve its power, and the power of state officials in Jefferson City, over local affairs.The city’s response also wants Mayor Lucas and the City Council removed from the suit, stating it’s the BOPC against the city, not the City Council.Last week, Gwendolyn Grant, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, filed to join the lawsuit on behalf of city taxpayers, asserting that the current funding structure of the department and police board amounts to a “taxation representation scheme” leaving citizens of Kansas City without a voice in how the department is run. Grant also raised concerns that the structure also violates the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. FULL STATEMENT FROM MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS:“One month ago, I worked alongside a supermajority of the City Council to craft legislation with a clear and simple goal of making Kansas City safer after generations of violent crime in our neighborhoods and to break the status quo in crime prevention and rising homicide numbers. I wanted to finally see a substantial, sustained decrease in homicides and shootings in our city. To ensure every child returns home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day.“Since that time, the unelected majority of the Police Board and their outstate allies have claimed many things, but have not worked with the City Council, members of the Police Department, clergy, community leaders, or the neighborhoods most affected by violent crime toward a safer city. Instead, they have pursued litigation that is short on legal foundation, high on hyperbole, and wholly without merit. The Police Board’s legal theories are undermined by the law and the Board’s own annual practices, ignore the plain language of Missouri statutes, and their desired remedy asks the Court to violate the Missouri Constitution. “The unelected Police Board’s suit is not about protecting the brave women and men in the rank and file of our police department, nor is it about making the community safer. The suit is the Board’s effort to preserve their power and the power of Jefferson City over our local affairs, while Kansas Citians continue to suffer unconscionably high rates of crime in too many of our neighborhoods. Our taxpayers, our neighbors, our victims, our police officers, and our families deserve better. During the pendency of this suit, twelve Kansas Citians have been murdered, including a 15-year-old child. “I continue to encourage the taxpayer-funded Police Board to drop this wasteful litigation against the taxpayer-funded City and to work with us to build the safer Kansas City we all deserve.”

The City of Kansas City, Missouri, and Mayor Quinton Lucas have filed yet another response in the ongoing battle over funding of the Kansas City Police Department.

The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners voted last month to initiate legal proceedings against the city council, city manager, and Mayor Lucas after an attempt by the city to reallocate funding from the budget of KCPD.

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Since the passage of two ordinances by the city council that would reallocate more than $42 million of KCPD’s budget for community programs and crime prevention efforts, the measures have been tied up with back-and-forth legal proceedings.

The BOPC claims Missouri law gives the board sole oversight of the police budget, with a board member calling actions by the city “a complete ambush” in how the ordinances were introduced and passed.

After a Jackson County, Missouri, judge issued a stay in the board’s lawsuit, the board continued, filing a writ this month attempting to force the city to allocate what the city claims is more than one-fifth of its general revenue fund to the board for the police department.

The city again counter-filed in court Tuesday, arguing that a writ of this type “would violate Missouri law” as well as “usurp the discretionary authority of City officials.”

Mayor Lucas issued a statement along with the filing, calling the board’s complaints “legally and factually false.”

Lucas stated since the passage of the ordinances, which were aimed at reducing rising homicide numbers, the board has only worked on court filings, not at building partnerships to reduce crime in the city.

“The unelected majority of the Police Board and their outstate allies have claimed many things, but have not worked with the City Council, members of the Police Department, clergy, community leaders, or the neighborhoods most affected by violent crime toward a safer city. Instead, they have pursued litigation that is short on legal foundation, high on hyperbole, and wholly without merit,” Lucas wrote in a lengthy statement. “The Police Board’s legal theories are undermined by the law and the Board’s own annual practices, ignore the plain language of Missouri statutes, and their desired remedy asks the Court to violate the Missouri Constitution.”

Lucas went on to state the basis of the board’s suit against the city is “not about protecting the brave women and men in the rank and file of our police department, nor is it about making the community safer.” Lucas writes instead, the board is only attempting to preserve its power, and the power of state officials in Jefferson City, over local affairs.

The city’s response also wants Mayor Lucas and the City Council removed from the suit, stating it’s the BOPC against the city, not the City Council.

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Last week, Gwendolyn Grant, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, filed to join the lawsuit on behalf of city taxpayers, asserting that the current funding structure of the department and police board amounts to a “taxation representation scheme” leaving citizens of Kansas City without a voice in how the department is run. Grant also raised concerns that the structure also violates the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

FULL STATEMENT FROM MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS:

“One month ago, I worked alongside a supermajority of the City Council to craft legislation with a clear and simple goal of making Kansas City safer after generations of violent crime in our neighborhoods and to break the status quo in crime prevention and rising homicide numbers. I wanted to finally see a substantial, sustained decrease in homicides and shootings in our city. To ensure every child returns home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day.

“Since that time, the unelected majority of the Police Board and their outstate allies have claimed many things, but have not worked with the City Council, members of the Police Department, clergy, community leaders, or the neighborhoods most affected by violent crime toward a safer city. Instead, they have pursued litigation that is short on legal foundation, high on hyperbole, and wholly without merit. The Police Board’s legal theories are undermined by the law and the Board’s own annual practices, ignore the plain language of Missouri statutes, and their desired remedy asks the Court to violate the Missouri Constitution.

“The unelected Police Board’s suit is not about protecting the brave women and men in the rank and file of our police department, nor is it about making the community safer. The suit is the Board’s effort to preserve their power and the power of Jefferson City over our local affairs, while Kansas Citians continue to suffer unconscionably high rates of crime in too many of our neighborhoods. Our taxpayers, our neighbors, our victims, our police officers, and our families deserve better. During the pendency of this suit, twelve Kansas Citians have been murdered, including a 15-year-old child.

“I continue to encourage the taxpayer-funded Police Board to drop this wasteful litigation against the taxpayer-funded City and to work with us to build the safer Kansas City we all deserve.”

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