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The Star usually does not publish mugshots. But there are exceptions — and this is one

Chiefs fans move toward the exit as an ambulance arrives on scene after shots were fired at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl rally on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, at Union Station in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star and the McClatchy Company in 2020 decided to stop publishing most booking mugshots.

The decision was rooted in two primary reasons:

  • At the time of booking, the person being photographed has been charged but not convicted. This means in some cases published mugshots are permanently available for people acquitted of the crimes for which they were charged.

  • Beyond the personal impact, inappropriate publication of mugshots disproportionately harms people of color and those with mental illness.

But there are exceptions.

Among the questions we consider when deciding if we should use a mugshot: Is the accused a public official? Is the community at risk if we don’t publish it? Is the crime committed of such a high profile that the public right to know must prevail?

We believe last week’s deadly mass shooting at Kansas City’s Super Bowl rally and celebration does merit an exception. The Star has published a mugshot of Lyndell Mays of Raytown, one of the two adult men charged with second-degree felony murder. And it intends to publish a mugshot of Dominic M. Miller of Kansas City when one becomes available.

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We have heard from several readers asking why we had not earlier published photos of these two men.

It is a decision Star leadership does not make without thoughtful consideration. We have done just that in this case.

Star reporters acquired a mugshot of Mays Tuesday night after he was booked at the Jackson County Detention Center. Mays had previously been in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the face, according to Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.

He said Miller was still in the hospital and had not arrived at the detention center, so no mugshot had been taken.

The Star took the time to sort out why one mugshot was made available and not the other before publishing either.

In addition to the two men charged with felony murder, police detained two teens in connection with last Wednesday’s shooting. They face gun-related and resisting arrest offenses. Because they are juveniles, their mugshots have not been released.

If the circumstances change surrounding the charges against the teens and whether they are prosecuted as adults rather than juveniles, Star leadership will revisit whether to publish their photos.