Kansas City Councilman Brandon Ellington was found guilty of a municipal assault charge last week as the result of an alleged March 20 confrontation with Freedom Inc. President Rodney Bland.
The judge ordered Ellington to serve one year of probation and pay a $500 fine.
Freedom Inc. is a Black-led political and civil rights organization aimed at improving the quality of life for African Americans in Kansas City. For nearly 60 years, the organization has been a political powerhouse, with their endorsement, or lack thereof, often making or ruining a candidate’s chances of being elected. The organization did not endorse Ellington’s candidacy for city council in 2019.
Bland said Ellington confronted him outside Soiree Steak and Oyster House in the 18th and Vine Jazz District on March 20. Bland said he was surprised by the confrontation, during which Bland said Ellington physically threatened him.
Municipal Court records say Ellington “inflicted bodily injury or caused an unlawful offensive contact” by poking Bland in the chest several times.
Ellington denied the accusations, saying he never physically threatened anyone, nor did he put his hands on anyone.
“For those who thought they were going to use this for political victory, understand that you didn’t do anything but give me motivation,” Ellington said in a Facebook live video, reacting to the Oct. 1 court outcome.
Olufemi Sharp, Bland’s girlfriend, testified as a witness and said Ellington approached Bland and was “acting very psychotic.”
Bland’s sister, Pamela Bland testified that Ellington said, “These (expletives) don’t know who they’re messing with. Heads are going to roll.”
According to Ellington, Bland approached him, but when Bland started a conversation, Ellington said he told Bland, “I don’t (expletive) with you. I promise I’m going to remove you (Freedom Inc.) from the community like the parasites you are.”
He testified that he never touched Bland and made no threats.
Ellington said he tried to call police to give a statement, but said a KCPD detective would not take his statement.
Ellington and his lawyer said they plan to file an appeal.