DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to investigate KCPD’s employment practices

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 8:01 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is now launching an investigation to look into the employment practices of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.

“Most of our conversations - not just in Kansas City but in the state of Missouri - have not looked to how we can make sure that our officers - particularly officers of color and women - can be taken care of, have not looked at how we can become a more diverse department reflective of our city,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “I think no matter what becomes of this investigation, it’s important for us to take steps to make sure we are doing right by our officers, take steps to make sure we are doing right by our community.”

This morning, interim KCPD Police Chief Joseph Mabin made the announcement concerning the investigation.

He said in a statement: “It is the policy and practice of the Board of Police Commissioners and the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department to provide a work atmosphere free of actual or perceived discrimination and harassment. I am committed to ensuring every member experiences a safe and fair work environment and every applicant received fair treatment throughout the hiring process”.

The department also said they will fully cooperate with the investigation.

“If enough people are saying, ‘It’s been too long. This is enough,’ what are we going to do to finally answer?” the mayor said. “The way you answer isn’t from just one-paragraph statements. It’s actually to say, ‘We will conduct our own substantial investigation to make sure our officers are happy and proud to be with this department, and don’t feel discriminated against if they are people of color.’”

On top of trying to hire new officers, the department is also in search of a new police chief.

Mayor Lucas said it was frustrating that the investigation was not discussed during Monday morning’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting.

“The Board of Police Commissioners actually did meet this morning,” Mayor Lucas said. “We did not talk about this topic although we were in a closed session opportunity, which would candidly allow you to talk about a number of things. I think what we need to do - from the leadership level on down - is to talk about how we can be more accountable or how we can make sure we are holding people more accountable.”

At this time, the KCPD and the FOP are not commenting on the investigation.

Previous coverage:

KCPD subject to civil rights investigation regarding employment practices