Police Union Reform and Racism in KC

For our show on August 17th, host Margot Patterson had scheduled a talk with Kalfani Ture,  Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Policing at Quinnipiac University, a university located in the middle of the power corridor between Boston and New York City.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Urban Ethnography Project (UEP) at Yale University. Kalfani Ture was a police officer in Georgia for five years during which he “experienced incidents of racism as a law enforcement officer.”  Ture has said in his 200 hours of training to become a police officer, most of it was dedicated to the use of force.   He is trying to put the Black Lives Matter movement in perspective.  Black people’s voices need to be heard.

Ture says there is a term used in police circles  – “lawful but awful” – which are killings that may be technically legal but could have been avoided.  Insiders and criminology experts point to police unions as the biggest reason police practices have hardly changed despite the outrage over killings of unarmed black men over the years. Ture has said that the police union somewhat institutionalizes the culture of maybe being a bad cop because it (defends) the status quo.″

Ture can offer several examples of how police unions shield members from accountability for their actions, including coaching officers involved in use-of-force incidents on how to write favorable reports and having them collaborate to present a narrative that exonerates them from blame and places fault on the suspect. He provides insight into police practices and a unique perspective on the licensing of law enforcement agencies to police and socially control communities and people of color. Currently, he is interested in exploring the ethnographic encounters of law enforcement toward stigmatized and urban African Americans.



As live radio goes, Ture was not available for an interview at this time.  We hope you will listen.

During the second half of our hour, we will play our recording of host Patricia Bartholome’s talk last week with Garrett S. Griffin. Garrett S. Griffin is a political writer and the author of Racism in Kansas City: A Short History, which was published in fall of 2015.  His book is a concise history of racism in Kansas City and a description of how its legacy is still with us today. It includes a forward by Alvin Brooks.

In his study of Kansas City’s darkest moments – slavery, the border war, the Civil War, bombings of black homes, lynchings, segregation, the civil rights struggle, the Black Panther movement, the 1968 race riot, assassinations in the 1970s, and the 1995 Missouri v. Jenkins, a case decided by the US Supreme Court that required the state of Missouri to correct racial inequality in schools with funding.   Threaded throughout Racism in Kansas City are stories of those who fought against racist policies.  While there have been some victories, racial inequities that still plague Kansas City today. African Americans are more likely than whites to be killed by police, to be pulled over, arrested, imprisoned, and executed. They are more likely to be turned down for a job or offered a bad home loan than equally qualified whites. Griffin’s book, Racism in Kansas City, offers us a hopeful message: with awareness comes understanding, then a willingness to push for positive social change.



Calendar for the week of August 17th:

Mayor Lucas has extended the State of Emergency in Kansas City until January 16, 2021, as the City continues its work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Certain business activities can resume while ensuring necessary public health measures remain in place.  See the FAQS at https://www.kcmo.gov/city-hall/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19-kcmo-information-and-response/reopen.

  • The KC chapter of Mothers in Charge, Healing Support Group has a great website. This group is for people who have lost loved ones to murder and violence.  For more information you can call them at 816-912-2601 or find them at kcmothersincharge.org .


  • MON 8/17 6 PM The Path to Local Control: Online event. ACLU of Missouri & Let’s Get Local Control Of the KCPD including KC Equity & Justice Coalition John Chasnoff will be the special guest. John lives in St. Louis and is a member of Coalition against police crimes and repression. John helped to lead the instrumental work of getting local control for St. Louis and has invaluable information to share with our community to help us in our fight. On Zoom, info at aclu of Missouri on facebook.


  • MON, August 17th 6:30 PM, More2 Kansas Issues2Action Meeting: Online event. Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2) asks us to join them (online, via zoom). Register in advance for this meeting: register at More²on Facebook.



  • WED, Aug 19th 7 PM, Mobile Justice 33.0 Launch, Online event. ACLU MO The ACLU is launching the Mobile Justice 3.0 app upgrade. The ACLU Mobile Justice smartphone app was created to empower individuals to hold Missouri law enforcement accountable for their actions with your smartphone You can join an info session to learn more at 12 noon and 7 PM.  info at aclu of Missouri on facebook. https://aclu.zoom.us/j/344121101


  • The Kansas City Chapter of Missouri Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants August monthly meeting will be WED, Aug 19th 6:30 PM. This is an online meeting, access info at MO CURE advocates for the human rights of prisoners in Missouri prisons and jails as well as those who have returned to society, by lobbying state and local government,  direct contact with corrections officials and a quarterly newsletter sent to supporters and prisoners.


  • THURS, Aug 20th, 1 PM Police Reform? You can join Empower Missouri and other panelists to share and discuss ideas on how to reform police departments in Missouri. Register at https://empowermissouri.org/events/


  • THURS, Aug 20, 6 -7 PM virtual program, Refugees in KC with Dr. Sofia Khan, small fee, registration at jcprd.com


  • FRI, Aug 21st, 10 AM, Slave to Soldier A “Portals to the Past” Online event. A unique historic experience! You can watch an interview with Private Isaac Johnson, one of the first Buffalo Soldiers, as portrayed by his descendant, George Pettigrew of the National Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association. Part of Civil War on the Western Frontier. Access info at org


  • Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense meetings this week include:

Prairie Village KS, THURS, Aug 20th, 6 PM

Douglas CTY KS, Lawrence, THURS, Aug 20th 6:30 PM

Topeka KS, THURS, Aug 20th 7 PM

MO Columbia and Jeff City, THURS, Aug 20th 7 PM

MO Four Rivers at Washington MO SAT, Aug 22nd 9 AM

KCMO August Virtual Meeting: SUN, August 23rd, 7 PM

All are online.  Access info at act.everytown.org. https://act.everytown.org/event/moms-demand-action-event/35101/signup/?akid=&source=mdmo_event-search

Please listen next week!   Please take care of yourselves and others. Thanks to all our listeners, stay close to your dial and stay well!


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