KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two former police officers in Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting a Black transgender woman during an arrest that was caught on video.
Charles Prichard, 50, and Matthew Brummett, 39, were sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation and ordered to surrender their law enforcement licenses, after the judge suspended their prison sentences.
The two men were initially charged with misdemeanor assault, but those charges were upgraded to felony third-degree assault after a grand jury watched a video of the May 24, 2019, arrest of Breona Hill and heard from two witnesses.
The video showed the officers slamming Hill's face into a concrete sidewalk, kneeing on her body and forcefully bending her arms over her head while she was handcuffed, prosecutors said.
Civil rights activists have cited the case and others in criticizing the police department’s use of force.
The city's interim Police Chief Joseph Mabin said in a statement the officers' actions did not meet department standards, and similar tactics would not be tolerated.
“I expect our officers to treat all those they come into contact with on a daily basis with dignity and respect,” Mabin said in the statement.
The officers, who were scheduled to go on trial next Monday, were placed on administrative leave after the charges were filed and left the department in December.
Kansas City attorney David Smith on Monday read a statement from the victim’s family spokesperson, Rena Childs, in which she called for reforms and culture change in the city's police department, the Jackson County Prosecutor's office said.
“But today is beginning to smell like justice,” Childs said. “These two officers will never be able to be police officers again.”
The man who recorded the arrest, Roderick Reed, was convicted of a municipal violation for not obeying officers’ commands to move his car after he stopped to videotape. He was later pardoned by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
The City Council later approved an amendment to the city code that ensures witnesses aren’t barred from filming the police officers.
Hill was shot to death on Oct. 14, 2019, at a Kansas City home. Allan Robinson was charged in January 2020 with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. He received diversion in January because prosecutors believed he shot Hill in self-defense, The Kansas City Star reported.
The Associated Press