Kansas Legislature, we are beginning to think we do not like you very much. Scratch that. We are well on the way to loathing you. First you wanted a law that made it super easy for teachers to spank children, even if they were over the age of 18. Then you decided that you should arrest those same teachers if they whispered one word to your children about sex. Then you tried to make sure you can keep underfunding your already-underfunded school districts. Now you've switched your focus from being narrowly terrible to schools to being terrible to, potentially, everyone.

A Kansas bill being considered by the House Standing Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice would give police the power to arrest people who file complaints against officers if those allegations were proven false. [...]

And the measure would prevent any other law enforcement agency from taking up the investigation once it had been closed.

What does this mean for you, O Citizen of Kansas? It means that you should never ever file a police report, because the likelihood your police report will be deemed false is already super high, and now the police can turn around and arrest you for having the goddamn gall to file something in the first place.

According to the Racial Profiling Advisory Board, the WPD denied 100 out of 100 claims of racial profiling, ruling that each was a “false report”. If this bill had been law when those reports were made, everyone of those 100 people could have potentially faced a felony charge, and no other law enforcement agency would be permitted to investigate the allegations.

It also means that if one inept or corrupt (or both! why choose?) police department finds your complaint to be false, no other agency can ever step in and independently investigate the allegation, which goes against pretty much every current model of how states handle concerns that a particular law enforcement body is covering up their own misdeeds.

Oh, also too, in case this didn't make you rageful/woeful enough: the bill also prohibits any anonymous allegations AND would require the entirety of the case file to be turned over to the officer that is the subject of the complaint.

[I]t lets officers who are the subject of complaints avoid answering questions until they’re given the complaint with all documenting evidence in its entirety. No respectable police detective would conduct an investigation this way. Any police interrogator will tell you that you never let a suspect know everything you know about the allegations against him. A good cop will have a true story that exonerates him, regardless of what’s stated in the complaint or how the complaint is revealed to him. A bad cop who is given the entire complaint can construct a narrative informed by everything the investigators know, safe in the knowledge that there is no additional information that could later contradict him.

Now, the brave yet anonymous legislator who filed this masterpiece did try to use some magical words at the end that will totally make sure this bill isn't the travesty of justice it is.

Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to discourage legitimate complaints or prevent a law enforcement agency from investigating a complaint made against a law enforcement officer.

Kansas Legislature, you are exactly like the people who wave the "I'm not racist but" wand before they let fly with about a million n-words in a row. You can't write a whole bill that basically discourages people from ever filing a police report -- discourages them with the threat of FELONY ARREST -- but then at the end say "oh hey we're totally not trying to discourage you" and then believe you're somehow totally back to being the good guys.

Kansas, we are getting tired of having to think up new ways to ask what the hell is the matter with you, so please get your act together quickly.

[Raw Story/Kansas Exposed/WaPo/Kansas House Bill 2698]


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