An ordinance that would drop charges against Kansas City protestors who were arrested passed out of the City’s Special Committee for Legal Review Tuesday. Councilman Brandon Ellington, who produced the ordinance, will introduce it again on June 18 for a vote by the City Council.  
The legislation would stop the prosecution of protestors who were arrested between May 29 and June 2, as long as their charges were non-violent and did not involve property damage.

More than 30 people gave testimonies during the nearly two-hour hearing. With more than 100 people in attendance, the chamber reached the maximum occupancy allowed under Mayor Quinton Lucas’ 50% pandemic occupancy rule.  

Ellington showed videos of KCPD officers pepper spraying peaceful protestors and even a protestor being dragged across the street by an officer. One of these videos recently went viral and was featured on CNN where Don Lemon said, “Come on Kansas City. Do better.”

Chloe Cooper, co-founder of the Kansas City Community Bail Fund, shared her experience bailing protestors out of jail. “We would see their battered bodies, bloody faces,” she said. “Some showing us videos of them standing on the curb shouting Black Lives Matter and being drug out into the street like a dog and flipped over like they’re nothing.”

Brad Lemon, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, testified against the ordinance. He reminded the committee that some protestors threw five-pound stones that crushed police officer’s helmets and put them in hospitals. “If this is what you do today, police officers down the road are going to look at this and realize that there wasn’t support to stop violent protests,” Lemon said.

Ellington said the ordinance would actually not eradicate someone who assaulted a police officer, although he said the majority of the infractions were people who were peacefully protesting.

Justice Horn, a local activist, testified for the ordinance and said he was embarrassed for Kansas City. “No one should have to suffer or be punished for progress we’ve made as a community and as a city,” he said.

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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