Mayor Quinton Lucas backs released photo: ‘The truth has been shared’

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A newly released image that was supposed to clear up controversy has now become the source of a new controversy with some alleging that it’s photoshopped. However, everyone from the mayor’s office to prosecutors to investigators say that’s false.

“I don’t know why there would be some gigantic conspiracy,” said a baffled Mayor Quinton Lucas. “The prosecutor, who has indicted police officers in the past. The mayor, who sometimes police have disagreed with. The police, the highway patrol. So many others, who are trying to say that we’re going to doctor a photo to try to cover up any incident here.”

Lucas was clearly frustrated that news of KCPD officers shooting an unarmed pregnant woman became national, and even international, news because it’s wrong.

“I’m surprised,” Lucas said. “I think there are some folks that want to fight. There are some folks that want to battle. This ain’t the case. And, this ain’t the situation for that sort of thing. This is a tragedy. One we all recognize, but one where the truth has been shared.”

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office released an image from police body camera in the police shooting that took place outside the Family Dollar parking lot near E. 6th Street and Prospect Avenue.

A bystander released a social media video, claiming the woman was unarmed and pregnant. It went viral. Turns out the woman isn’t even pregnant. Something her family and pastors verified this afternoon.

The still image is not a clear photo. It’s a single frame in a video. Prosecutors explained the entire video is blurry because everyone is moving. This includes the officers at the scene and the woman now charged in connection with an armed carjacking.

An image of Leonna M. Hale, as seen in body camera video taken on May 27.
An image of Leonna M. Hale, as seen in body camera video taken on May 27.(Provided by the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office)

Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said prosecutors reviewed body camera video and additional evidence that showed Hale “continually displayed a weapon during her encounter with police officers.”

Kansas City Missouri Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon was outspoken Thursday morning about media reporting regarding the other video taken by a woman and her claims of Hale being unarmed. He described the situation as “garbage.”

He also praised the mayor and Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker for going public.

“It was starting to really gain traction,” Lemon said. “It was in everyone’s best interest to put out what the reality of what the afternoon, evening was. To stop this narrative from becoming a Ferguson conversation.”

Leonna Hale has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, and resisting a lawful detention.

Hale’s family continues to question the image. They gathered at the Family Dollar Thursday night.

“It is missing an ankle clear as day,” said Pastor Timothy Hayes with 24 Hour Faith Training Center. “The leg and the shoe is not connected. Her hand is faded inside of a fence, if you look at in detail.”

The family and two pastors called for the entire video to be released. It’s something Mayor Lucas addressed head on.

“The reason that video isn’t given out the moment after something happens is actually because of the rights of the defendant and Missouri law that lays that out,” said Mayor Lucas.

Previous coverage:

Mayor’s office confirms authenticity of body camera still frame from KCPD shooting

Prosecutors file charges against woman shot by police, release image from police body-worn camera

Woman charged for exhibiting weapon during encounter with KCPD officers on Friday

Mayor Lucas tweets statement regarding officer-involved shooting

Eyewitness says woman shot by police was unarmed, MSHP’s initial investigation reveals a weapon

Suspect hospitalized following officer-involved shooting in KCMO