KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed an amicus brief on Thursday opposing Kansas City’s recent efforts to defund their police department.
“Calls to Defund the Police are no longer just rhetoric, they have made their way into city budgets,” Schmitt tweeted. “Today we filed a brief to stop this deadly and destructive effort in Kansas City. Now more than ever we need to #BackTheBlue.”
The brief, filed in Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners v. Mayor Quinton Lucas, argues that Kansas City’s recent move to reallocate millions of dollars away from their Metropolitan Police Department is illegal under state law.
In May, the KC City Council voted to approve Mayor Quinton Lucas’ proposed budget cuts – including a $42.3 million cut to the Kansas City Police Department’s funding. The $42.3 million was moved into a community services fund and is now controlled by the City Manager.
“Missouri law prohibits the City Council from interfering, in any way, with the Department’s operations and specifically protects the budget from transfers back to the general revenue fund that the Board does not authorize,” the brief reads.
A state statute that was passed in 1943 states that “any officer or servant of the mayor or common council” who “obstructs or hinders” the operation of the police board or the execution of duties prescribed to them, are liable to a $1,000 fine for each offense and would be forever disqualified from holding office in the city.
The brief also states that the massive cuts to the Police Department’s budget could potentially eliminate 480 police officer positions due to lack of funding.
Last year there were a total of 176 murders throughout Kansas City, making it the deadliest year in the city’s history. Schmitt and others count this as a major reason for defending the police, rather than defunding them.
“Attempts to defund the police will deprive Kansas City residents of a needed police presence and exacerbate homicide and violent crime rates plaguing Kansas City and major cities across Missouri and the country.”