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Kansas City mayor sues over Missouri police funding law

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Margaret Stafford

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas sued Missouri on Wednesday. He raises money for the police.

The Jackson County lawsuit is the latest salvo in a long-running dispute over police funding between some city leaders and Republican state officials. . Kansas City is believed to be the nation's largest city without police control. Critics claim it is based on racism against the city's large black population.

The department is now run by a police commission including her four members appointed by the mayor and governor.

In the latest lawsuit, Lucas is asking the court to stop enforcing a law passed earlier this year, and Kansas City will cut police funding from 20% to 25% of general revenues.

According to the lawsuit, Kansas City could have to cut funding for other government services by more than $38 million if the law takes effect.

"Radical laws do not guarantee police salaries, hire no police officers, ignore the will and importance of Kansas City taxpayers, and instead We are politicizing policing and need a bipartisan solution to violent crime," Lucas said in a statement.

The Republican-led Congress passed the law without providing state funding to cover the increase. The lawsuit alleges that the new law violates the Missouri Constitution. The Constitution contains a provision known as the Hancock Amendment, which prohibits unfunded state orders against cities.

Due to concerns about the constitutionality of the law, Congress also passed a constitutional amendment to exclude state orders to increase police funding from the Hancock Amendment restrictions. It takes place in front of Missouri voters in May.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt and the Kansas City Police Commission are also named in the lawsuit.

Schmidt spokesman Chris Nuell said in a statement that Lucas "prioritized politics over public safety".

“The Office of the Attorney General will continue to support the brave men and women of law enforcement and vigorously defend Missouri law in this case,” Nuelle said.

Lucas and some city council members will designate approximately $42 million of his 2021-2022 police budget to a special fund to promote community engagement and intervention. After approving two ordinances, Congress passed the law.

The board filed a lawsuit, and a judge later ruled that the city council had no power to change police department spending.

Critics said the council's move was a way to "pay off" the police, but city officials strongly denied this.

Republican State Senator Tony Lütkemeyer, representing a county outside Kansas City, was the primary sponsor of the bill. He tweeted Wednesday that Lucas' lawsuit is "the latest effort by the city to continue its radical quest to defend police funding. I am confident (Schmidt), and the police We will do everything in our power to uphold the new laws to keep our region safe."