Crime

Facing Budget Cuts, Kansas City Police Department May End Social Worker Program

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KANSAS CITY, MO — The Kansas City Police Department’s Social Services Program, which stations a social worker at all six patrol divisions across the city, faces possible discontinuation as the department adjusts to a $26 million budget cut for fiscal year 2021-22. The decision to cut the program comes as social workers have been in the national spotlight recently, with calls to reform police departments and invest in community programs that focus on jobs, affordable housing, and mental health services for underserved populations. Sgt. Jake Becchina, a public information officer and member of the KCPD for 17 years, said the department faces decisions about where to pare down resources as…

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Citizens Call for Removal of Chief of Police, Greater Officer Accountability

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KANSAS CITY, MO — Public pressure is mounting against Kansas City Police Chief Richard Smith amid criticism that he failed to hold his officers accountable for alleged excessive use of force and mistreatment of communities of color. More than 2,350 citizens have signed a petition calling for his removal. The Kansas City Star called for his resignation in an editorial. And activists urged the board of commissioners that oversees the police department to fire him. Their complaints against Smith mirror the national movement against police brutality that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police on May 25. Peninsula Press · Kansas City Residents Call for Removal of Chief…

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How California police departments targeted gay men in sting operations for a century

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LONG BEACH — San Carlos-based civil rights attorney Bruce Nickerson estimates that between 40,000 and 50,000 people in California, mainly gay men, have been arrested in illegitimate police decoy operations since 1979, the year the California Supreme Court redefined lewd conduct to include a question of whether an action was highly offensive to an observer.

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