As a growing group of protesters gathered in front of City Hall for a sixth day demanding the resignation of Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Rick Smith and that the KCPD’s budget be cut in half, Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas during a virtual Town Hall meeting Wednesdayevening on Facebook, addressed the ongoing protest as he fielded various questions posed from citizens.
The protesters are upset over several videos that surfaced recently of Kansas City Police officer arresting a black woman who is nine months pregnant and forcing her to lie on her stomach. Reportedly, the woman was interfering with an attempted arrest of a man during what was reportedly a disturbance that had broken out and police were called to the scene. The incident is currently being investigated by the police department and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office.
Responding to a question about the incident, Lucas explained that he and some of the City Council members and police department “continue to communicate with the protesters in an effort to listen to their concerns and try “to find common ground.” He said since the incident is under investigation by both the KCPD and the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, he will await the completion of the investigations. He urged persons who may have captured video of the incident to send their videos to the mayor’s office , the Jackson County Prosecutor or the Kansas City Police Department.
“One of my pre-eminent goals is to continue to hear from the voice of the people (protesters), but as long as the protests are non-violent,” he explained. Lucas did visit with protestors Saturday morning and he has said “there are no imminent plans to require the individuals outside of City Hall to vacate the premises.” He said the City Council will engage in further discussion about steps forward during Thursday’s (today’s) regularly scheduled meeting. However, during the Town Hall discussion about the incident, Lucas said some of the demands such as requesting the resignation of the police chief and cut the department’s budget by 50 percent are “unreasonable” and are not things he supports.
“There are some things I can find common ground with people and some things I can’t,” he explained.
Lucas’ live dialogue with facebook viewers drew a variety of questions on other topics such as the latest gathering rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, police reform, affordable housing, decriminalization of marijuana, and decriminalization on gun laws.
The one hour exchange involved the mayor accepting both praise and criticism and doing so in a manner that was civil, given a few personal jabs.
Responding to one critic Lucas said, “I’m a mayor for all of Kansas City, even for those who say they want to kick Lucas out of office.”