NAACP holds press conference about opposition to Westport sidewa - KCTV5 News

NAACP holds press conference about opposition to Westport sidewalk privatization

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(Kansas City) (Kansas City)

The local NAACP chapter has been vocal about not supporting council’s decision to privatize sidewalks in Westport.

On Friday, they held a press conference to publicly express their stance.

The discussion about Westport sidewalks is ongoing, even after councilmembers approved a resolution 8 to 5 last week to privatize them.

The Kansas City Branch of the NAACP is totally against that decision.

“I do not believe that private citizens ought to have a job of doing policing and that is what’s happening,” said Rodney Williams, President of the KC Branch of the NAACP. “Policing in the Westport area will be taken out of the hands of the police department and put into the hands of private agencies.”

The organization said the ordinance has the potential to violate civil rights and that they have to stand up against that.

Some councilmembers even questioned if privatizing sidewalks is legal, but Councilwoman Alissia Canady said safeguards are in place to help address those concerns.

“There are ways to protect people’s rights,” she said. “What you cannot protect is a person’s life if someone shows up within assault rifle into a street full of thousands of people, and we don’t have that ability to stop them as police.”

She said the NAACP has a place in the ongoing conversation about public safety citywide and, now that the Westport ordinance is implemented, she looks forward to working with the organization to ensure that not only civil rights are protected, but also that those same people’s lives are protected from gun violence while in KC.

The Westport Community Improvement District said the only reason Westport wants to prohibit weapons is to protect lives while upholding the civil liberties of all who visit.

“I think less guns in Westport is obviously a good idea, but I think there’s better ways in which we can stop guns from coming in besides having metal detectors,” Lucas said.

“When someone wants to bring a gun somewhere, they find a way to do it and doing more checkpoints is just going to bother people more than bringing safety,” said Massilia Guizem. “They’re going to maybe lose business.”

“I think maybe they can provide more security by bringing more officers in the area,” Nassim Balla said.

People will begin to notice security checkpoints equipped with metal detectors in the spring when they enter a perimeter on Friday and Saturday nights.

“This is just beginning, because we’re going to fight, we’re going to fight, and we’re going to fight,” said Williams.

The NAACP does plan to take further action, but they didn’t provide details on what that is.

Previous coverage:

NAACP comes out in opposition of privatizing sidewalks in Westport

City council to vote on privatization of Westport sidewalks

Following recent violence in Westport, debate reignites over privatization

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