Justice For Ryan Stokes, Kansas City MO

Justice For Ryan Stokes, Kansas City MO

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Ryan Stokes, age 24, was an unarmed black man who was fatally shot from behind by a Kansas City police officer. The officers chased Ryan into a Power & Light District parking lot around 3 a.m. on July 28, 2013, after a drunk white man falsely accused Stokes of stealing his iPhone.

After the shooting, KCPD promoted a false narrative that Ryan Stokes was a thief with a gun who had engaged in a standoff with police when he refused to drop his weapon. They delivered this statement to the press and to Ryan’s family. Daniel Straub, one of the officers involved in the chase that night, later gave a sworn testimony against the department’s initial false narrative. He revealed that in fact, Ryan Stokes didn’t have a gun and was complying with his orders. Daniel Straub was later pushed out by KCPD after speaking on the matter.

Ryan Stokes didn’t steal the phone. He was unarmed and was already surrendering to officer Daniel Straub when Stokes was shot from behind by another KCPD officer. That officer’s name is William Thompson, and he is still on the force.

This case should be put back under review immediately. William Thompson should be fired from his job at the Kansas City Police Department. A public statement should be released from the Kansas City Police Department acknowledging the wrong-doings of that officer, and outlining what they will do to prevent something like this happening in the future.

It is also important to note that the case was taken before the Jackson County Grand Jury, and that this very same Grand Jury was taken to the police department for "training" on officer involved shootings. This type of preparation from KCPD has successfully prevented the indictment of officers who have wrongfully used deadly force. I have learned that since this occurrence, further action has supposedly been put in place to better the integrity of the Grand Jury process. But, it is critical that we continue to ban any Grand Jury secret proceedings with the police department. The facts should be laid out in a public courtroom so that the process is transparent.