2 former KCPD officers plead guilty to felony assault following 2019 arrest of Breona Hill

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 5:59 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Two former Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department officers have pleaded guilty to felony assault, admitting to using excessive force while arresting a Black transgender woman in 2019.

Matthew G. Brummett, 39, and Charles Prichard, 50, pleaded guilty Monday to a Class E felony of third-degree assault.

“I’m just really hoping that this can turn into a teachable moment,” said Justice Project Kansas City’s Executive Director Kris Wade. “I’m thankful that the police officers stepped up and were accountable for their actions. That was really critical, in my opinion. I know that a lot of folks in the LGBTQI community wish that they would have gotten a stiffer sentence. I can understand their feelings on that, but I think it was fair.”

By pleading guilty, the men admitted to knowingly causing physical injury to Breona Hill in May of 2019 by slamming her head against the sidewalk, kneeing her in the face, torso and ribs, and forcing her arms over her head while she was cuffed.

A Jackson County judge suspended imposition of sentence and placed Brummett and Prichard on supervised probation for three years. As part of the plea agreement, both Brummett and Prichard will surrender their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Program licenses and not carry firearms while on probation. A POST license is required to be a police officer.

Roderick Reed recorded cellphone video of the assault. He spoke after Monday’s plea hearing.

“The video speaks a thousand words,” Reed said. “Thank God I was there when I was. God put me in the right place at the right time to try to save Breona.”

In May of 2020, Brummett and Prichard were charged with misdemeanor assault.

In July of 2020, a grand jury heard additional evidence and indicted Brummett and Prichard with third-degree felony assault. According to an affidavit, witnesses came forward after the initial May indictment.

One witness was the lead defensive tactics instructor at the Regional Police Academy in the summer of 2019. That witness had seen reports about the arrest, including a video. The witness said there were several issues with the amount of force used. This witness’ commanders supported the individual’s conclusion and raised other issues about the arrest, which they thought was not justified.

A second witness, who was a former defensive tactics instructor, also reviewed the reports and contacted a member of the KCPD’s command staff. This witness also said there were issues with the amount of force used.

The grand jury was also presented with evidence about the extent of Hill’s injuries as a result of the amount of force used during the arrest.

“We saw two people take responsibility for their actions,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “They are convicted of felonies. They cannot be police officers in another jurisdiction and, for that, I am most grateful.”

Kansas City Attorney David Smith read a statement from Rena Childs, who has been a spokesperson for Hill’s family. She called for reforms to end excessive use of force.

Childs said: “Breona was, to us, witty, intelligent, creative. She made beautiful jewelry. She had a great sense of humor. She really wanted to get out of the street. She wanted to get out and, unfortunately, she didn’t live long enough to have that opportunity.”

Hill was killed in a separate, unrelated fatal shooting in Kansas City at a home on Hardesty Avenue in October of 2019.

“We’ve had so many trans women murdered,” Wade said. “We’ve had 25-30 women murdered in the 15 years that I’ve been doing this job.”

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2 former KCPD officers plead guilty to assaulting Breona Hill