TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka family is desperate for answers after months of waiting. Twenty-one-year-old Anthony Tankersley had just finished shopping at Walmart and was trying to catch a bus ride home when he was assaulted.
Tankersley, who has struggled with Cerebral Palsy his entire life, turned to ask a man by the name of Shawn White where the bus was going. That is when White punched Tankersley in the face. Five months later, he still hasn’t recovered.
“With my eye, you’re going to see a dark spot right there,” Tankersley said, as he gestured towards his eye.
Shawn White was arrested and booked into the Shawnee County jail for allegedly attacking Tankersley, but he was quickly able to bond out. He was expected to appear in court for the assault against Tankersley, but never showed up. That’s when a warrant was issued.
“You don’t know what to expect if someone tries to hurt you,” Tankersley said.
He has been recently arrested in nearby Leavenworth County for assault and another time for battery against an officer. In both instances, he was arrested and booked into jail while having an active warrant in Shawnee County. He was able to bond out on both accounts. At this moment, he is still walking the streets as a free man.
“I just feel like we are out here failing and trying to get some justice and I’m really frustrated,” Joe Cheray, Anthony’s mom said. “You know, I’ve hit a breaking point a couple of times.”
After digging through White’s criminal history, a loophole was discovered. He doesn’t just have one active warrant in Topeka, he has three. One from May, June and July. All three warrants were in effect when he was arrested twice and bonded out in Leavenworth.
“He needs to be dealt with, he needs to be arrested and he needs to be charged and he needs to be behind bars,” Cheray said.
According to Topeka’s City Attorney, Amanda Stanley, people with warrants can be picked up from bordering or other counties at the discretion of the Watch Commander on duty at the Topeka Police Department.
In an email, Stanley told KSNT News, “The City did receive a call from Leavenworth, the request was reviewed by the watch commander per the established policy. Following policy, because Mr. White was not in an adjoining county, the transport was denied.”
Topeka Police said two officers are required for pick ups that are far away because of safety reasons, so it’s possible they didn’t have enough people working to make the drive. Officers also said the watch commander on duty gets told what they warrants are for, but not any specifics on the case.
Cheray said if White is constantly allowed to bond out with active warrants, coupled with his history of assaulting people, it’s only a matter of time until someone is seriously hurt.
“What does he have to go out and actually kill somebody before they actually do something? They should have done something when he attacked Anthony the way that he did,” Cheray said.
Stanley said they are currently reviewing the Topeka Police Department’s policies to see if there are any necessary changes required based on this incident.