Judge: Kansas City's Plan To Divert Police Funds Was Illegal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge ruled Tuesday that Kansas City officials violated state law when they moved toward shifting 18% of the police department's budget into community services.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Campbell sided with a five-member state board overseeing the police department's budget and operations. The board sued over funding, arguing that once the City Council determined in March how much to allocate to the department, it couldn't change it later under state law, The Kansas City Star reported.

Mayor Quinton Lucas and a council majority wanted to shift $42.3 million from the police department's $239 million budget into a new community services fund. The city and police board were to negotiate over how the money was spent.

Kansas City is Missouri's only city without control of its police department. Its police board is the mayor and four members appointed by the governor.

The City Council voted in May to divert the funds, two months after it initally allocated the money to the police. Supporters of the move objected to the city's lack of control over the spending.

Critics of the move called it an attempt to defund the police, and the department said it would have lay off 1,000 officers and staff. Lucas disputed that claim.