City Hall Occupation Continues; Organizers Respond to Possible Attempts at Intimidation

Rebecca Bayley

10/12/2020- Kansas City, Missouri

Photo of press conference from "The People's City" in KCMO on 10/12/2020

Photo by Rebecca Bayley

Occupation continues at “The People’s City” in front of City Hall in Kansas City, Missouri. The occupation is now in its eleventh consecutive day.

At recent press conferences, organizers Attorney Stacy Shaw and Rachel Hudson said that the protest is going well and will continue until the protestors’ demands are met. They indicated facilities available at the site include food, water, medical and mental health care, security personnel, and a library. They also explained that protestors who are part of the occupation are assigned legal counsel in case of arrest.

Additionally, regular COVID-19 screenings, hourly hand sanitization, and masks are required for anyone present at the encampment. No cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the encampment to date. The protestors are also initiating an efforts to assist houseless people present at the occupation. “We’re working on getting all of our comrades into housing,” Hudson said.

Notably, representatives from many local groups have shown up to support the occupation since it began, including the Kansas City chapters of the NAACP, the Urban League, and SCLC and many others. Several protestors from the St. Louis Occupy City Hall movement have also traveled to Kansas City in support of the occupation.

The occupation site has been home to several community events. Most recently, protestors held an open mic night and a drum circle.

During a recurring protest in front of Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) headquarters last Friday, local activist Rachel Hudson stated she had recently been followed by a KCPD vehicle.

Hudson, who lives in Belton, Missouri said, “An unmarked vehicle with a license plate number 88 followed me all the way to my home.” Subsequently, she sighted the same vehicle in the parking lots of several stores she visited after leaving her home.

Hudson expressed she would continue to protest despite having been followed. “I want the police station, I want Mayor Lucas to know that I will not stand for that intimidation,” she said.

Stacy Shaw followed up Hudson’s remarks on Friday indicating that KCPD officers need to be held accountable for attempts to intimidate protestors. “We are not being kind with you anymore,” she said. “We are seeking to revoke the peace officers’ licenses. We are going to start using your character against you.”

Shaw’s comments on Friday garnered some online commentary from the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Brad Lemon, the president of FOP Lodge 99, made a Facebook post last Saturday night in which he interpreted Shaw’s words as threats of violence against the families of KCPD officers. He stated, “Our families don’t deserve what Shaw is threatening,” and indicated he would be working with the city to protect officers from any potential harm.

Shaw replied during today’s press conference that the FOP has “created false threats of violence” on her behalf. She stated there has been no violence from the Black liberation movement in Kansas City over the course of the 50 protests the movement has conducted this year.

“Every instance of violence has been initiated by the police,” Shaw said. “In fact, I have been personally violently assaulted and undergone attacks via chemical weapons from this same police force.”

Like Hudson, Shaw has no plans to stop protesting. “I will not let attempts at character assassination deter me, scare me, or cause me to falter in my unwavering commitment to Black liberation.” She added, “We will continue to fearlessly seek what we have always sought: peace, love, and justice.”

Published on: 10/12/2020