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3 ex-detectives sue Kansas City police for discrimination

Three Black female former detectives have accused the Kansas City Police Department of discriminating against them because of their race and gender during an internal probe of a unit that investigated sex crimes against children.

Gleanice Brown, Latondra Moore and Tamara Solomon argued in a federal lawsuit that disciplinary recommendations arising from the investigation into the Crimes Against Children Unit were “demonstrably biased and unfair” against Black female detectives.

Police leadership recommended that Black female detectives in the unit be harshly punished, such as losing their detective status or termination, while their white male counterparts were reinstated as detectives and could be promoted, the lawsuit states.

The internal affairs investigation, which began in 2015, found that detectives in the Crimes Against Children Unit didn’t work on some cases for months and sometimes misplaced evidence.

When the investigation began, seven detectives and two supervisors — almost the entire unit — were suspended. Police documents identify Brown, Moore and Solomon among the suspended detectives.

In 2016, The Kansas City Star reported that police memos identified nearly 150 cases in the unit that had been “severely mishandled” with evidence of “gross negligence” by detectives. The department eventually released reports showing 149 cases were severely mishandled.

In 2019, Police Chief Rick Smith said 17 officers, including seven who were no longer with the department, faced discipline ranging from counseling to termination. He also announced several changes to prevent future failures and renamed the unit the Juvenile Section.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, the women’s attorneys also allege that police supervisors were not suspended or recommended for termination, even though the investigation determined supervisor mismanagement was the primary cause of the unit’s problems.

The lawsuit also names the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99, the union that represented the detectives. The women say the union did not provide legal representation or guidance to them during the investigation but did represent their white male colleagues.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jacob Becchina said the department generally does not comment on pending litigation. A union spokeswoman also said the union would not comment on the lawsuit.

Moore is the only one of the three who still works as an officer for the department.

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