Emails Show Mayor’s Office Notified Kansas City Media About Defunding Plan Before Telling Police Chief Rick Smith

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Emails obtained by Liberty Alliance USA show that on May 20, 2021 Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ Office gave advance copies of their ordinances to defund KCPD by $42 million, along with a supportive press release, to local reporters, including the Kansas City Star editorial board, hours before Lucas notified Chief Rick Smith of the plan.

Mayor Lucas’ office emailed “near-final drafts” of the two police defunding ordinances to a Kansas City Star reporter at 8:58 am, telling him they still needed “FINAL approval from our Legal Department on language.” The Mayor’s Office also sent copies of the ordinances and press release to Dave Helling of the Star’s editorial board, before notifying KCPD Chief Smith. It was not until hours after the media had copies in hand, and shortly before his press conference, that Lucas emailed Chief Smith the two ordinances and told him he had nine Council sponsors.

The Heartlander reached out to the Mayor’s Office to ask why they notified the media hours before notifying Chief Smith. A spokesperson for Mayor Lucas, Morgan Said, acknowledged the media was notified first. “The Mayor himself did not contact the press,” she told The Heartlander.

“Mayor Lucas illegally took $42 million from the Kansas City Police Department and his office told their puppets in the media about it before Chief Smith,” said Liberty Alliance executive director Chris Vas. “It has been clear that Mayor Lucas does not respect or appreciate the hard working officers of the Kansas City Police Department, but this is low – even for him.” 

Other emails obtained by Liberty Alliance show that the Mayor’s Office was unhappy with TV news coverage of their move to divert $42 million from the KCPD, with the Mayor’s staff objecting to the use of the phrase “defunding the police.” A staffer emailed a KSHB producer to complain about the coverage on the 10 p.m. news broadcast. She reminded him that she “talked through this for nearly 45 minutes and the story still cites this as ‘defunding the police.’” She asked the producer to “convey what we discussed to your team so it’s reflected in y’all’s coverage,” to which the news producer replied, “Can do. Thanks again for all your help. I hope your sushi was yummy. Killer.”

Liberty Alliance has publicly stated that they will continue to release documents that they obtained in their Sunshine Law requests in the coming days and weeks.

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