While the Kansas City council and their mayor want to defund the police, a Jackson County judge is stepping in. The judge has ruled that defunding the police was a violation of state law.
Judge Patrick Campbell, a Missouri 16th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, determined that at this point, the city council was not able to adjust the budget of the police department post appropriations, especially without the approval of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.
The city council defunded the police department a month after the board approved the budget. At this point, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and his fellow city council members passed two ordinances that defunded the department.
The police department was given $223 million, and the city council wanted to take $42. 2 million dollars out of it. The money would go into a Community Services and Prevention Fund.
According to WDAF, the two ordinances would have the police board and the city council negotiate the terms of how the money would be used. Those who were against the ordinances felt it was just a way to defund the department, while Lucas says it was just about accountability.
Suing The City
The Police Commissioners Board filed a lawsuit against Kansas City, saying they overstepped by taking away part of the department’s budget. The city said that the money would still help the community.
The state law requires that the city use 20 percent of its general revenue for law enforcement. The city felt that this adjustment qualified.
The lawsuit says the mayor told the Police Chief of the budget change the same day the ordinances passed. This was also the first time Chief Smith had heard anything about the city wanting to defund the police.
The finance director said the adjustment would make the department run out of money by February of 2022. However, the budget manager said it was more likely that they would run out of money by December 2021. With his ruling, the judge also requires the city to give the department back their $42.2 million. He found that the city broke the state’s law.
The judge’s ruling came as a relief for the chief and the police department. In contrast, the mayor was less than thrilled and will likely take money away from the department when it comes time to set the 2022-2023 budgets.