The Demand for Justice for Donnie Sanders Continues Despite No Charges Filed in Police Shooting from Jackson County Prosecutor

Andrei Stoica

3/9/2021- Kansas City, Missouri

Youlanda Sanders (left) and Reshonda Sanders (right) speak about their brother at the Justice for Donnie Sanders march in Kansas City, Missouri on March 6.

Photo by Andrei Stoica

The family of Donnie Sanders is demanding a full release of evidence surrounding Kansas City Police Officer Blayne Newton’s killing of Sanders on March 12, 2020. The family’s demands were read publicly by Anton Washington at a march and rally for Sanders that began at Arno Park, Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday. The march continued to the home of Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, where protesters demanded that Baker release a complete copy of the KCPD investigation report of the incident and release a complete copy of all material and evidence reviewed by the prosecutor used in her determination to not file charges.

“If this was your son or your brother, how would you react?” said Youlanda Sanders, sister of Donnie Sanders. “This hurts. All we asked for is justice for my brother. He didn't deserve to die. Not for no traffic stop. You know how this makes us feel? We hurt.”

The protest was in response to the decision announced Monday, March 1 not to charge the officer, Blayne Newton, with Sanders’s death. In the decision’s accompanying statement, Peters Baker’s justification for the decision was that “the evidence collected is insufficient to support charges against the officer. The officer told investigators that Sanders held up his hand toward him "as if he's got a gun."”

KCPD detain a protester at the march for Donnie Sanders in Kansas City, Missouri on March 6, 2021

Photo by Andrei Stoica

One protester detained at march

Following the demonstration and the reading of demands the group headed back to Arno park. During the march back one person was detained by KCPD police when a car turned into a group of protesters crossing Ward Parkway and struck a protester at low speed. The protester can be seen tapping on the car's hood in response. The person was taken into custody at the Shoal Creek patrol station in Kansas City, Missouri. They were released later that evening. One witness at the scene said: “This driver ran right into this young man, which freaked the young man out and he banged the hood. Within three minutes the place was crawling with police. They grabbed the young man, and arrested him. They handcuffed him and arrested him and we're all talking to the police. And we're saying: arrest the driver, because he ran into that young man. They ignored us, you know they have their orders about how to deal with the public in these situations, and they let, they let it go. They let the driver go, but we have license plates. And we're going to be contacting police and witnesses, I was standing right there when it happened”

Donnie Sanders investigation

Sanders was killed by Newton on March 12, 2020 in Kansas City Missouri. The unarmed 47 year old Sanders was shot multiple times. He died from his wounds the next day. The Missouri Highway Patrol was asked to investigate on October 13, 2020 as an outside agency. The request was made by the Jackson County prosecutor's office after receiving the completed KCPD report. “We’ve made clear, whenever we needed to, that the police department shouldn’t investigate itself, especially in fatal officer-involved shootings,” Michael Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor office said in October. “So when they submitted this case to us, we immediately asked highway patrol to look at this investigation and review it.”

At a March 1, 2021 press conference, the family asked to see the detailed report and for justice for Donnie Sanders. “I want Newton charged.” said Mark Sanders, Donnie’s uncle. When asked if he thinks he will see this happen, Sanders said, “Probably won’t. Same thing over and over.”

The Jackson County prosecutor’s office is holding a virtual public forum today at 6 pm local time about use of force incidents involving the Kansas City, Missouri police department and their investigations.

Published on: 3/9/2021