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Activists, community leaders and survivors of police abuse, backed by Jay Z’s Roc Nation and Tulsa’s Terence Crutcher Foundation, rallied outside the government building in Kansas City, Kansas on Thursday to demand a federal investigation into the Kansas City Police Department.
Federal prosecutors are already seeking a conviction against disgraced former KCKP Detective Roger Golubski, who appeared in federal court last week after being indicted on charges that he violated the civil rights of Black women by raping, sexual assaulting and kidnapping them, according to a Nov. 12 report from KCUR.org.
Prosecutors say they possess over 36,000 pages of evidence in an investigation that alleges Golubski, 69, used the power of his badge for decades to assault Black women and threaten to kill them or their loved ones if they came forward.
While Golubski’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14, outraged community members say he represents just one example of corruption within the department as demands for a federal pattern or practice investigation grows.
Rally demands federal DOJ pattern and practice investigation of Kansas City Police Department
On Thursday, hundreds of people from across the nation braved the icy winds to blast a fiery demand for justice. Dania Diaz leads TeamRoc, the activism arm of Jay-Z’s RocNation.
“What we learned from a lot of organizers is that people are still fearful to come out. And what I saw today was that there was a lot of love coming from across the nation,” Diaz told The Black Wall Street Times.
Nearly a dozen organizations and speakers were represented at the rally, with a recurring demand: protect Black women.
For decades, survivors of Golubski’s reign of racial and sexual terror have been calling for an investigation into the department. Thursdays’s rally came days after Biden’s Department of Justice announced a federal grand jury indicted Golubski, Cecil Brooks, LeMark Roberson and Richard Robinson with conspiring to hold women in involuntary sexual servitude decades ago.
“From 1996 through 1998, Brooks provided a location at Delevan Apartments in Kansas City, where young women were held and where Brooks, Roberson and Robinson used physical beatings, sexual assaults and threats to compel young women to provide sexual services to men,” a DOJ press release stated.
Golubski, a former captain in the department, also faces civil rights violations charges. If convicted, each man faces life in prison.
Kansas City Police Department shares similarities with OKCPD
Tamika Mallory is a lead organizer of the national organization Until Freedom.
“We believe in shining light in dark places. What has been happening in Kansas City, Kansas is darkness. And we showed up from all over this nation to bring the light,” Mallory told the crowd.
The community is thankful for the federal indictments, Mallory said. “But we want the entire police department looked at from the top to the bottom. And anyone who knew about it, anyone who was involved, they need to be tried the same way that they try brothers and sisters that look like us every single day.”
Notably, the case involving Golubski is reminiscent of another in Oklahoma. Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison after being convicted for sexual assaulting over a dozen Black women in OKC. The similarities in the two cases have led some Oklahoma survivors and activists to join in Thursday’s rally in Kansas City.
Rev. Sheri Dickerson, leader of Black Lives Matter OKC, expressed solidarity with the Kansas City justice seekers on Thursday as she explained her hopes that KCPD would face the DOJ investigation that the Oklahoma City Police Department is currently facing.
“I tell you that we will fight to protect Black women at all cost. Because when Black women rise humanity is elevated,” Rev. Dickerson said.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke tells reporters Oklahoma City joins Louisville, Minneapolis, and Phoenix under similar investigations.
— Storme Jones (@StormeJones) November 17, 2022
Community members in Tulsa are also calling for the DOJ to reopen the investigation into the killing of Terence Crutcher by disgraced former TPD officer Betty Shelby. The case was closed during the Trump administration.
“Believe Black women”
Notably, even as KCPD face the threat of a federal probe, just last month the department faced backlash for refusing to originally believe reports of missing Black women in the area.
A multi-county investigation is looking into an incident involving a 22-year-old Black woman who escaped from a basement in Excelsior Springs, Missouri after being kidnapped, beaten, and sexually assaulted.
Timothy Haslett Jr., a white 39-year old male faces kidnapping and torture charges, according to the Kansas City Defender.
Addressing concerns from the community, the Kansas City Police originally called them “completely unfounded rumors.” After the revelations came to light of the missing young Black woman, the Kansas City Defender reached out to KCPD for a response. Rather than admit a mistake, the department doubled down.
“We do still maintain that there is no indication that what you guys [Kansas City Defender] reported was accurate and there was no indication that there was anything that supported that claim. We share what information we can publicly, many times from the scene, of incidents of violent crimes when there is a report or an investigation underway, there had and has not been anything that corresponded to your reports on social media and the web which is why we refuted that report and said that the claims were unfounded.” – Kansas City Police said in a statement to the Kansas City Defender, a Black-owned newspaper.
Support for survivors of sexual violence
As KCPD remains reluctant to work with community members to protect Black women, other groups are filling the gaps.
Debbie Frederiksen, MS, LPC is Director of Communications for Kansas City’s Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA).
“Perpetrators of sexual violence need to be held accountable, and MOCSA is here to support survivors and families who have been impacted,” Frederiksen told The Black Wall Street Times via email.
“For those who may be afraid to come forward, please know you can receive help from MOCSA confidentially. We also know that cases like this can be triggering for survivors, and we are here for anyone who needs support. Please contact our 24-hour crisis line: 913-642-0233.”
This is outrageous. Thank you for covering this. The power differential that exists between a white policeman and a poor black woman is enormous and it is this power differential that many are in a political fight to protect. As a white female survivor I have experienced a bit of the lassitude of people who should be my protectors. Instead the deal in shame and secrecy. You are in a unique position to keep up the pressure. Please, please keep covering the difficulties of poor women. They need you.
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