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Prosecutor adds use-of-force position

By Mike Genet

The Jackson County prosecutor’s office has hired a longtime former Kansas City Police sergeant to examine police use-of-force incidents and alleged wrongful criminal convictions. 

Tony Sanders, who worked for 28 years in the Kansas City Police Department, started work in the new position this week, the prosecutor’s office said in a release Wednesday.

After protests in Kansas City last June following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the prosecutor’s office created a webpage for citizens to submit allegations and evidence of police misconduct. County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the number of submissions led her office to add an investigator to assist such reviews, as well as alleged wrongful convictions.

For years, the prosecutor’s office has had a committee of prosecutors, chaired by Baker, which reviews investigations of use-of-force cases, both fatality and injury cases, and recommends a decision to her. She then sends letters of conclusion to the chief of the involved law enforcement agency.

That committee’s work will continue, said Mike Mansur, spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office. While the committee reviews for charging decisions, Sanders will work to support investigations, he said, so they will work in conjunction.

“We do review every use-of-force case made known to us,” Mansur said.

During Sanders’ tenure with KCPD, he worked in a variety of investigative areas, including hostage negotiation, media relations and administrative positions. He also is a founding member and past president of the Kansas City Police Historical Society.

“I’m extremely thrilled to have an investigator on board who is so uniquely qualified,” Baker said in the release. “This work will be crucial to rebuilding the community’s trust in law enforcement.”

Added Sanders: “I look forward to the opportunity to continue my long-standing career in serving this community.”