By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer
Ryan Stokes was shot and killed at 2:58:27 a.m. by a Kansas City, Mo. Police officer on July 28, 2013.
His death came 45 seconds after Officer Villafain initiated a foot pursuit and 20 seconds after Officer Thompson heard his breathy radio call. “Two black males, white T-shirts, stealing, alley at 12th and McGee.”
The dispatcher asks him to repeat the location, and then Villafain can be heard yelling, “Watch your cross-fire man.”
Officer Lutz yells at Thompson. “was he armed?” as he rolls Stokes now lifeless body over, only to discover he was in fact, unarmed.
Moments later Villafain asks dispatch to send a car to handle the friends of the “victim” as they worked to push witnesses out of the crime scene. That was the only time that Stokes was ever called a “victim’.
As the narrative is created Stokes, a high school graduate, an emplyee, a son, a father, a cousin and a member of our community is transformed into a thief, thug and a young man who refused to drop a weapon that Officer Thompson, who shot and killed Stokes, searched his car and found after the shooting. The Police, through the media, shifted the burden of proof from the Police shooting Stokes, an unarmed man to Stokes having to defend his character from the grave.
Currently, Stokes’ mother Ms. Narene Stokes James and her family, friends as well as witnesses, are in depositions for the lawsuit that they filed against the Board of Police Commissioners concerning what they feel needs to be changed in the Department’s policies.
One of the things that surprised both Ms. James and her attorney during deposition were some of the responses by the officers.
“The officers stated that they did not want the awards that they were given and that they were made to accept the awards,” Ms. Stokes James said.
The issue was the narrative that the review panel presented to justify the awards. Both Officers Thompson and Jones didn’t feel that the narrative that was used was reflective of what happened that July 28th morning.
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