Four Squad Cars Stop Two Protesters Over Parking, No Trespassing Sign

Brynn Laurel

12/11/2020- Kansas City, Missouri

KCPD officers detain two activists on December 11, following the Friday Night Protest at Kansas City, Missouri Police Headquarters.

Photo by Andrei Stoica

“I am so tired y'all. I fear for my family every goddamn day because I don't know if they're going to come home. I don't know if they're going to run into a racist cop one day that just wants to take them and that's terrifying,” said Ky Williams, an activist with White Rose KC, to a small group of protesters outside Kansas City, Missouri Police Headquarters on Friday, December 11. “There's so many people that are harassed, that are followed, that are beaten, that are brutalized every goddamn day, every day. And I'm sick of it. And we're going to keep coming out here, no matter if they put a chain right over this whole sidewalk.”

Williams was one of several activists who spoke during the regular Friday Night Protest, which holds a memorial for victims of KCPD brutality and then marches to chant outside the Jackson County Detention Center, where more than 80 percent (as of 2018 numbers) of inmates have not been convicted and thus are presumed innocent.

Williams and another protester with whom she was riding, Chris Bizzle Jr., were stopped by a group of more than four KCPD vehicles immediately following the protest. Bizzle said cops approached his car without turning their lights on, initially. They were asked to exit the car and were told they were being stopped because Williams had been trespassing. After waiting outside for about 30 minutes, according to Bizzle, Williams was ultimately given a citation for destruction of property for allegedly tearing down one of the “no trespassing” signs. Bizzle was cited for a parking violation and expired registration, both of which he is contesting.

Bizzle said he asked one of the officers how Williams’ actions would have been considered trespassing, since that’s what they were initially told she was being cited for. Bizzle said the officer responded with, “What if you had a flag at your house and somebody took it?”

But Bizzle said the police response—from the citations to how many officers came to stop them—didn’t make sense to him.

“They’re really mad over a paper, like it’s never that serious,” he said. “You can just go back in your office and print out another one and put it back on there.”

Although Friday’s protest saw the protester memorial set up along the chain link fence, protesters had, the previous week, set up their memorial by leaning their boards against the police monument inside the fence—a setup they had routinely used until the chain fence around the monument and the “no trespassing” signs—citing the city’s general trespassing ordinance—were added to the monument in September. The “no trespassing” signs were not present at the Friday Night Protest on December 4, but new signs had been posted by December 11.

For protesters like Williams, however, the signs say much more than “no trespassing.”

“That's a piece of paper that means more than the lives on these boards to them,” she told the crowd. “Eight fucking pieces of paper sitting right here mean more to those goddamn pigs in there than these lives that they stole, that they are continuing to take! We come out here because we want them to know that they're not going to just be able to get away with treating us like this anymore, that we're not letting it go silently, that we're not letting a life go in vain. It's not happening. No.”

“I'm not here to change the minds of the cops,” she continued. “I'm here to take their licenses so they can stop taking my brothers and sisters lives. It's not your responsibility to convince people that this is important. It is not your job to tell people that they need to understand, because at the end of the day, there are powers and the capabilities that each of us has, and we will continue to fight and continue to do this work, and the line will follow, because justice will be served—period. Period.”

Published on: 12/18/2020