Archive for Front Page News

Board Appoints Major Rick Smith As The New Chief Of Police

MajorSmithBy Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

On Friday, July 28, the Board of Police Commissioners for the Kansas City, Mo., Police department, named Major Rick Smith as the new Chief of Police.

Smith who has served in the Department for 29 years became the 45th Chief of Police in the City’s history. He will be sworn-in on August 15.

Smith edged out, by a vote of 3 to 2, Tulsa Oklahoma Chief of Police Keith Humphrey.

Smith inherits the position as the City records its 86th homicide and in spite of what citizens hear crime is on the rise.

Smith campaigned on the platform of hiring more Police officers and placing more officers on the street, especially in hot spots such as Westport and in the Northland where he alleged that he spoke with someone who stated that they had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for Police to finally arrive.

Smith will oversee a $250 million budget and 1,800 Police officers.

Smith wasn’t a slam dunk for the position.


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Family Remembers Loved One Killed By Police Four Years Ago

Ms. Narene Stokes JamesBy 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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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II Honors Mrs. Ruby Arnold With Congressional Record

Ruby ArnoldBy Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, recently honored the life of Mrs. Ruby Arnold who saved the Black Archives of Mid-America several years after Horace Peterson founded the Archives.

“Years after Peterson’s accidental death, the BAMA experienced internal tumult that unfortunately played out in the Kansas City media. The unflattering press resulted in funding shortfalls and eventually, the exodus from Vine street, sometimes referred to as the ‘Firehouse,’” Rep. Cleaver said.

As BAMA began to fade, in part, because it did not have an adequate home or sufficient funding nor the extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Longtime supporters began searching for funding and a new location. Mrs. Arnold was among those diehard fighters.

“During the Spring of 1998, Ruby Arnold, a BAMA diehard Board member began a personal crusade to secure a new home for the organization that she held dear. One Monday morning , during a heavy Spring rain, Mrs. Arnold appeared at the desk of the 29th floor of City Hall. The security guard asked if she had an appointment with anyone in particular. ‘I don’t have an appointment, but I have come to see Mayor Emanuel Cleaver,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry, but the Mayor is not in,’ Ms. Cheryl Richards, an assistant to the Mayor stepped in and stated,” Rep. Cleaver said.

Mrs. Arnold was told that on Mondays the Mayor attends the Mayors Corp. of Progress meeting, which was a meeting of a group of Kansas City business leaders.

“Thank you I will wait. It’s raining pretty hard anyway,” Mrs. Arnold said.

And wait she did. She waited until Mayor Cleaver and his security detail stepped off the elevator and greeted the Mayor.

“Mayor Cleaver, I need your help to locate a home for the Black Archives. We don’t have any money, but we need a place large enough to grow,” she said.

Mayor Cleaver responded, “Well, I don’t know for sure what I can do. You know the Black Archives was suppose to be the main museum on 18th, but Horace wanted something different than we could not do legally.”

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