Inching toward local control

On December 17, just prior to the City Council’s holiday recess, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas filed a resolution with the City Clerk’s office that, in summary, suggests the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) stop publishing booking photographs, commonly known as “mugshots,” because they are, in a word, racist.

As outlined in the discussion part of the fact sheet for the resolution, the Mayor states that mugshots can “negatively affect an individual’s personal life, housing and educational opportunities,” going on to state that “predatory websites cache mugshots online and often require payment in order to remove an individual’s mugshot.”

The News Dog finds the timing in all of this quite interesting, especially given this rubber stamp, police-hating council and their back-room moves to incite local control over the police department. Let’s not forget Mayor Q also thinks that the legal legs that give the police department state control is illegal, something he told “The Kansas City Star” Editorial Board recently.

Also disturbing, at least to this free-speech-minded News Dog is that, as outlined in the resolution’s fact sheet, two local media outlets, “The Kansas City Star” and KSHB Channel 41, have opted to not publish criminal mugshots.

Really? Two so-called “news” organizations have chosen to withhold public information? Certainly makes one wonder what else they’re deciding to withhold because it doesn’t fit their corporate news model. This News Dog always thought members of the Fourth Estate had an obligation to uphold the public trust and be a bastion of free speech, not limit the dissemination of information that is vital to public safety, like a mugshot.

But alas, The Star is a shadow of its former “paper for the people” self. One thing is certain, “Baron Bill” would have fought in every court in the land for the right to publish such things, as they are key to keeping the public informed. Nelson would have not only published the mugshot, but the address of the offender and any family members that were involved in any related criminal activity. These days, however, The Star is more interested in taking a knee and publishing apologetic manifestos begging forgiveness for decades of perceived racism. For the record, this past weekend, the Editorial Board at The Star removed all images of the paper’s founder, William Rockhill Nelson, from their masthead, but denied trying to erase history.

Here’s the deal. Maybe these criminal types Mayor Lucas is so interested in “protecting” should have thought about the consequences of their criminal actions before they decided to undertake the thug lifestyle and negatively impact the lives of the victims they preyed on. On the constitutional side of the house, the Mayor should know that you can’t ban the publication of anything and this resolution flies in the face of not only the first amendment but also Missouri’s Sunshine Law that guarantees the public’s right to information – like booking photos, er… mugshots.

Lastly, the resolution isn’t even a real ordinance. It’s nothing more than a suggestion to the police department to stop publishing mugshots. This way, the mayor and the riot endorsing council can go back to their woke, ban-the-police constituency and say, “Hey, we tried to work with them but they just wouldn’t abide. If we had local control, we could invoke this by fiat but we don’t.”

The Mayor’s ulterior motive with this resolution is clear. This is just one small step in the bigger end game of exacting local control of the city’s police department. The Dog wrote about it then and will continue to shine the light where they don’t want it, like any responsible member of the Fourth Estate should do.

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