The family of Donnie Sanders, the unarmed Black man who was shot and killed by a Kansas City Police Department officer in 2020 is suing the KC Board of Police commissioners for $10 million.
The lawsuit, which was filed just days before the two-year anniversary of Sanders’ death, accuses the board of not properly training and disciplining officers in use of deadly force cases. It also accuses the officer, Blayne Newton, of using excessive force.
Newton shot Sanders three times after he followed Sanders’ car into an alley on Wabash and Prospect Avenue. Sanders parked the vehicle and ran, and Newton chased him, police said.
Police dashcam video captured Newton yelling commands at Sanders to show his hands, but the video did not capture the shooting. At the time, KCPD did not have body cameras.
Newton told investigators he believed he saw a gun in Sanders’ hand, but no weapon was found. Investigators said Sanders only had a cellphone in his jacket pocket.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, citing an investigation by Kansas City police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, determined last year that the witnesses’ statements collaborated Newton’s account that he shot Sanders because he was afraid for his life.
She announced she had insufficient evidence to charge Newton.
Newton was not charged and returned to work as a patrol officer. He was reviewed again after video footage showed him putting his knee on the back of a nine-months pregnant Black woman who was on the ground during an arrest.
Leslie Foreman, a spokeswoman for the police, said the department does not comment on pending litigation.