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Two moms devastated by police shootings say change is coming

(KCTV5 News)
Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Two mothers whose sons were shot and killed by police speak out. Their stories are alike, and yet so different.

The shootings happened years apart. One in the city, the other in the suburb. One is black, the other white. But, the women are bonded by understanding. They’ve endured something most of us can’t imagine.

And, both hope the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is the turning point for police accountability and reforms.

Sheila Albers sat in silence on her couch and watched the verdict in the Chauvin trial. When it came back guilty on all three counts, the first person she texted was Narene Stokes.

“There’s no one who understands me more,” said Sheila.

Narene Stokes’ 24-year-old son Ryan was shot and killed by Kansas City police officer in 2013 during a disturbance in the Power and Light District. Police said they thought he had a gun. He didn’t. When he was shot, he was holding his keys and a flip phone. The officer who killed Ryan was not charged and is still on the force.

“It hurts,” said Narene. “It makes you angry. It’s unbelievable.”

Sheila Alber’s 17-year-old son John was shot and killed by an Overland Park police officer in 2018. Police were there for a mental health welfare check. The officer fired 13 shots into the family’s minivan as John backed out of the garage and down the driveway. The officer who killed him was not charged and was given a $70,000 severance package from the city. He retained his peace officer’s license.

Their hope is that the Chauvin verdict on Tuesday is the tipping point.

“We’re looking for justice,” said Narene. “We want justice. We need to change and the changes came yesterday.”

“It’s a door that’s opened now,” said Sheila. “Families like us can walk through we can demand accountability. We don’t want to lose any more lives. George Floyd should still be with us. Ryan should still be with us. John should still be with us.”

Both mothers are hopeful that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will pass. The bill would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants in drug cases and reform qualified immunity, making it easier to pursue claims against police officers in civil court.