Protesters temporarily end encampment in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Demonstrators who set up tents outside City Hall in Kansas City three weeks ago to demand police reform after an officer placed his knee on the back of a pregnant Black women have announced a temporary end to their encampment.
The Kansas City Star reports that Black Rainbow, one of the groups that organized the occupation, announced on Instagram they’d declared a “ceasefire” after beginning talks with public officials about divesting funds from law enforcement.
Ryan Sorrel, a leader with Black Rainbow, said the demonstrators will return if they don’t see the changes they want.
The demonstration had demanded that city leaders fire the officer seen in a video kneeling on the pregnant woman, terminate Chief of Police Rick Smith and vow to divest 50% of the police force’s budget.
Sorrel said demonstrators began talking with city council members a few days ago about specific spaces where public safety funds and responsibilities, such as health crises and parking tickets, could be moved away from the police department.
“We saw this as a very strategic move in order to not absolve all of our resources,” Sorrel said.
Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement Saturday that he’s been meeting with such groups since May and planned to continue to do so in an effort to build trust.
“While we will have our disagreements, all of us in Kansas City must work together to see better days ahead,” he said.
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