WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita community leaders are calling for an officer to be fired following an altercation involving two teens on New Year’s Eve at Roller City skating rink in southwest Wichita.
The leaders held the news conference on Monday at Calvary Baptist Church. Local pastors, Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple and City Council member Maggie Ballard and others were in attendance.
Members addressed video of the incident was posted on social media, which showed the altercation and a teen being sprayed with pepper spray. It happened after police said a 15-year-old girl was asked to leave the rink. The police said she refused and attempted to hit an officer but missed. That’s when video shows an officer hitting and pushing a 16-year-old boy before spraying him.
Wichita Police Chief Joseph Sullivan was not in attendance at the conference. However, he said the officer has been placed on administrative duties and said he would “hold officers accountable if anyone has acted outside the policies of this department.”
Community leaders voiced that they did not think that was enough and that the officer involved should be fired.
“It happens over and over and over again, and given an officer who commits such an egregious act towards a youth in our community, giving him desk duty and reassignment is not an effective deterrent. Firing and taking away benefits is an effective means to curve this type of egregious behavior,” said Pastor Dr. T. La Mont Holder.
The mother of the boy who was hit by the officer was also at Monday’s conference. She said that police never called her that night and that witnesses did.
“I got there. My son was nowhere to be found. I didn’t talk to my son for seven hours. They wouldn’t let me talk to him while they investigated him while he went to the hospital. They didn’t let me do anything. I didn’t know if my son was okay or anything,” said Makala Day.
The leaders called for charges against the two teens to be dropped by the police chief and the district attorney’s office.
Mayor Brandon Whipple believes Wichita is too good of a city for this to happen.
“He did not have his arms up,” Whipple said. “He did not have an aggressive stance. He was not, he was not squaring up. He was not defensive. He was just in shock.”
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 released the following statement in regard to the incident at Roller City:
We are aware of the incident with the Officer that occurred at Roller City on December
31st. We are also aware of the inflammatory statements made by Mayor Whipple, which signal to the community that the city has passed judgment before an investigation has occurred.
We are disappointed by the Mayor’s statements.
We would hope the Mayor who is tasked with leading the city would not make reckless
statements without knowing all the facts and context. This only causes more division
within the community.
Wichita Police Chief J. Sullivan is conducting a full investigation into the matter. It is
critically important that the Police Department have the complete context and facts of the incident before issuing judgement. We would hope that the Mayor would agree that a brief snippet of the video does not provide the full context of the incident.
The Officers that the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge # 5 represent are committed to
always providing Protection and Service to the public.
Respectfully,Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5