Judge rules against Kansas City plan to shift funds from police to community services
A Missouri judge on Tuesday ruled that the Kansas City Council violated state law when it approved plans to reallocate millions of dollars in funds away from the city’s police department.
KMBC reported Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) and the City Council sought to reduce the budget for the Kansas City Police Department earlier this year by $42.3 million. After the City Council approved the measures to cut the budget, the Kansas City police board filed a lawsuit in May seeking to overturn those ordinances.
The money taken out of the police budget was meant to be reallocated to community programs aimed at preventing crime and expanding community outreach.
A Jackson County judge ruled that by approving these measures, the City Council overstepped its authority and violated state laws, according to KMBC. The judge ordered that the funding that had been reallocated be restored to the police budget.
Following the ruling, Lucas said, “The decision announced by the Court today has provided a pathway forward for the City to require the Kansas City Police Department to engage in discussions related to crime prevention throughout future budget cycles, should the Department seek to receive funds in excess of 20 percent of the City’s General Fund Revenue.”
The police department and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s (R) office both celebrated the ruling, KMBC reported.
“The police department puts a great deal of effort into this process as does the city. This budget process directly affects not only the police department and the city, but the members in our community. We appreciate the court recognized the validity of the 2020-2021 budget process,” the department said.
In a statement to KMBC, Schmitt said, “Today, a Jackson County Judge sided with the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners and the Attorney General’s Office and struck down Kansas City’s illegal attempt to defund the police. This is a huge win for the people of Kansas City and law enforcement officers who work every single day to keep their communities safe.”