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Community reacts to conduct of Wyandotte County’s Community Integrity Unit

KCTV5 Investigates.
KCTV5 Investigates.(KCTV5 News)
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office hasn’t heard the end of the chaos created within the Community Integrity Unit, and some community leaders are wondering if integrity can ever be restored.

Every member of the 3-person team has been fired by the DA. The first for not getting along with coworkers and then later, the remaining two after recordings surfaced of office chatter revealed troubling personal views.

Those recordings were done secretly, by the first one fired. He took the recordings to Human Resources, and also gave them to KCTV.

Here is just one sample of what is on the recordings:

Khadijah Hardaway is the lead organizer for Justice for Wyandotte, a community organization demanding reforms within law enforcement. She says she’s heartbroken to hear such hateful comments coming from inside the Community Integrity Unit.

“It’s not chatter, it’s not just gibberish and if you are saying that, you are part of the problem. You are absolutely part of the problem,” said Hardaway.

Keep in mind, these investigators are the ones who decide whether a case should be reviewed because of a wrongful conviction. Here is another sample from the recordings:

Hardaway says it’s clear to her that if you want to clean up Wyandotte County, you’ll need outside help. Hardaway says the District Attorney has clearly failed in his efforts.

Attorney Peter Joy is a Legal Ethic’s Professor who weighed on the controversy.

“I think it’s horrible,” said Joy about the recordings. “Unjustifiable, you know? Almost at a loss for words.”

We asked Joy what he thought needs to be done to rebuild the unit and the public’s trust.

“I think you need outside eyes to take a look at it because otherwise you’re going to be these lingering questions,” said Joy and suggested that the DA could turn to a law firm or the Kansas State Highway Patrol to facilitate the independent review.

Joy points out that the troubling comments were made about almost every group of people except straight, white, employed people with no previous record, physical or mental disability, or addiction.

Joy believes the attorney who violated the office’s code of conduct policy should be reported to the Disciplinary Council in Kansas.

Hardaway says she feels neither should ever work in law enforcement again.