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Family of Black Man Fatally Shot by Kansas City Police Officer Sues for $10 Million

Donnie Sanders was fatally shot by Officer Blayne Newton in March 2020

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Image for article titled Family of Black Man Fatally Shot by Kansas City Police Officer Sues for $10 Million
Photo: Heather Hollingsworth (AP)

The family of Donnie Sanders, a Black man who was shot and killed by a Kansas City police officer in 2020, is suing the Board of Police Commissioners and the officer for $10 million, according to the Associated Press.

This is the second high-profile case involving a Kansas City police officer fatally shooting a Black man in the last couple of months.

The federal lawsuit accuses Officer Blayne Newton of using excessive force when he fatally shot Sanders on March 12, 2020. The lawsuit also accuses the board that oversees the Kansas City Police Department of not properly training or disciplining officers when it comes to deadly force.

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From the Associated Press:

Newton shot Sanders, 47, three times after he followed Sanders’ vehicle into an alley. Sanders parked the vehicle and ran, with Newton chasing him, police have said.

Police dashcam video records Newton yelling commands at Sanders to stop and show his hands but the video does not capture the shooting. Kansas City police were not wearing body cameras at the time but have since begun doing so.

Newton told investigators he believed he saw a gun in Sanders’ hand. No weapon was found; investigators said Sanders had only a cellphone in his jacket pocket.

Two witnesses reported they saw Newton walking backward while yelling commands as Sanders approached with his arm extended.

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Jean Peters Bakker, the Jackson County prosecutor, cited an investigation from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Kansas City Police that found that statements from the witnesses confirmed Officer Newton’s account of the incident, which claimed that he shot Sanders because he was fearing for his life, according to the Associated Press.

Newton was able to return to work without being charged.

According to the Associated Press, he went under review again after witnesses claimed he put his knee on the back of a Black woman while he was trying to arrest her, which caused protests in the city.