WPD March 17

Kansas Bill Seeks to Legalize Police Retaliation


The Kansas House Standing Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice has introduced a bill that will require private citizens who file complaints against police officers to sign an affidavit, acknowledging that if their allegations are proven false, they can be charged with perjury, which is a felony charge.

Furthermore, this bill prohibits a Kansas law enforcement agency from opening an investigation into a complaint if another law enforcement agency has already investigated the complaint and found in favor of the officer.

In other words, this bill would allow police departments to arrest the people who file complaints against police officers. In Wichita, Kansas, complaints are almost always dismissed, by the Wichita Police Department, so, according to this bill and its vague wording, the WPD, could now go arrest the people who file complaints against their officers.

People in Wichita are already afraid to file complaints against the WPD, because the department has a well-known reputation for retaliating against those who do, and this bill would render such retaliation legal. Furthermore, the bill clearly prevents an outside agency, such as the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, from opening an investigation into an allegation that the WPD has already ruled upon.

According to the Racial Profiling Advisory Board, the WPD denied 100 out of 100 claims of racial profiling, ruling that each was a “false report”. If this bill had been law when those reports were made, everyone of those 100 people could have potentially faced a felony charge, and no other law enforcement agency would be permitted to investigate the allegations.

Sometimes, we see news stories where bills are badly misrepresented. This is not one of those stories. Here is the full text of the bill:

http://kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/documents/hb2698_00_0000.pdf

Who actually authored this bill remains unclear, as the bill was introduced by the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice.

WPD