KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners was created and maintained for the discriminatory purpose of denying Black residents their right to control the police department, a lawsuit filed Tuesday contends.
Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, also alleged in her lawsuit that the police board violated taxpayer rights under the Hancock Amendment, a citizens' initiative approved by voters in 1980 that limits state revenues and local taxes, KCUR-FM reported.
“This case is about taxation without representation,” the lawsuit states.
The Kansas City Police Department has not been under local control since 1939, when it was taken over by a five-member Board of Police Commissioners. It is made up of the mayor and four appointees of the Missouri governor.
“The state of Missouri has implemented a selection process for the Board of Police Commissioners that disproportionately deprives African-American Missourians of local control of the police which serve their communities, and has done so due at least in part to discriminatory motive,” the suit alleges.
Grant is also leading a coalition of civil rights groups who have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the police department for a high rate of violence against people of color, racist hiring practices and lack of local control.