Two former police officers with the Kansas City Police Department have been convicted for the 2019 assault of Breona Hill, a Black trans woman. According to The Kansas City Star, the officers will have their firearm licenses and police certifications revoked in addition to 3 years of unsupervised probation. But due to a plea deal, the men will not serve jail time.
A video recorded the May 2019 arrest, in which officers Charles W. Prichard and Matthew G. Brummett slammed Hill’s head against the concrete and placed a knee on her neck while pulling her arms above her head. Court records report that Hill cried out, “God help me.
The video was recorded by Roderick Reed, who was later convicted for disobeying the officer’s commands to stop recording and pardoned by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. After the video was circulated, the charges against the former officers were bumped up from misdemeanor assault to felony third-degree assault. On Monday November 14, Prichard and Brummett pled guilty.
Five months after the assault, Hill was shot to death by Allan Robinson in an unrelated incident that was ruled self-defense. Hill’s aunt, Rena Childs, appeared at court in her stead. David Smith, the attorney representing Childs, read a statement from the family, criticizing the police department and its culture which enabled the assault. “But today is beginning to smell like justice,” the statement went on. “These two officers will never be able to be police officers again.”
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker also spoke on the significance of the case. “I think far too often, people like Breona see the system actually working against them instead of for them. So I’m standing here for her. I wish she could be here today … She deserved the protections of the system and she deserved fair and just treatment.”
Following the ruling, Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, issued a statement on the bittersweet outcome:
“While time-served is our preference, acknowledgment of guilt and being barred from careers in law enforcement can serve as signals to officers on the force that perhaps the two-tiered justice system that they have long enjoyed may be coming to an end.”