Landmark Lawsuit Could Potentially Redefine Local Law Enforcement Jurisdiction In Missouri


Three Black women have filed a federal lawsuit challenging Missouri’s control over the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD), alleging systemic racism and inequality perpetuated by the state’s governance structure.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, argues that the arrangement, dating back to 1861, was initially designed to maintain control over Black citizens and perpetuate discriminatory practices.

One plaintiff, Narene Crosby, whose son Ryan Stokes was killed by the KCPD in 2013, stated:

“My family has gotten no apology, no accountability, and no justice.”

The lawsuit contends that the current governance structure of the KCPD operates without sufficient accountability to the community it serves, highlighting the unique lack of local jurisdiction over the police force in Kansas City.

The plaintiffs argue that this setup denies democratic processes to the residents and contributes to a culture of impunity within the department.

Kansas City is notably the only U.S. city lacking local control over its police force, a historical relic from efforts to control the city during the Civil War era.

The legal implication of the lawsuit is significant, as it challenges longstanding state control over the KCPD and seeks to address systemic issues of racism and inequality within law enforcement.

If successful, the lawsuit could lead to reforms in the governance structure of the KCPD and greater accountability to the community it serves.