The Department of Justice has officially opened up a civil rights investigation checking to see if the Kansas City Police Department in Missouri allegedly has been engaging in racial discrimination practices against Black officers. CNN confirmed the department officially received a letter from the DOJ on Monday. The DOJ will thoroughly investigate “race-based disparities in hiring, promotions, detective assignments, disciplining officers, and “maintaining a hostile work environment.
This comes while the department has been dealing with a long list of racial issues. At the beginning of the year, the Kansas City Star found Black people are far more likely to be subjected to use of force even though they are 28% of the population in Kansas. The same publication also showed that KCPD has fewer Black officers today than it did decades ago. Two Black female officers filed a lawsuit against the department alleging harassment because of their race and gender.
Police Chief Joseph Mabin stated the department would fully cooperate with the investigation.
From the Kansas City Star:
“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,” Chief Joseph Mabin said in a statement.
“I am committed to ensuring every member experiences a safe and fair work environment and every applicant receives fair treatment throughout the hiring process.”
For some advocates, an investigation like this has been a long time coming. The executive director of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, Lora McDonald, hopes the findings will finally push for changes within the department.
“Specifically, there’s a pattern of systemic racism so pervasive it even impacts black officers,” she said. “Citizens of this community experiencing that impact of this racism have had little recourse short of lawsuits, which we all pay for when they do get results.”