TOPEKA (KSNT) – The police shooting of a local veteran has family and friends looking for answers and accountability.
A US Marine Corps Veteran, Christopher Kelly, was killed in an altercation with Topeka Police in late June. KBI is currently investigating the case, indicating that the man had mental health issues, cutting himself with a knife before charging toward officers – where he was then shot multiple times.
“The advocates have been working very hard on getting different things passed within the city council – such as an independent citizens review board,” Community Advocate for Police Reform Danielle Twemlow said. “Make sure there are people working all shifts on the crisis intervention team so that they’re available for people who are in mental health crises.”
27 News reached out to the City of Topeka regarding some of the claims made by Christopher’s family. The city tells us that, “Since 2013, all TPD Officers who’ve gone through the Academy have received a CIT (OR CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM) certification. Nearly all TPD officers are CIT certified.”
They also say, “TPD’s Crisis Intervention Team includes one sergeant and three officers.”
In addition to advocating for additional mental health team members, organizers are looking for more information about what happened with Christopher.
They say they aren’t aiming their frustration or grief toward any one person or entity, instead pushing for accountability moving forward.
“There will always be that abuse of power if we don’t have it in check,” Twemlow said. “This isn’t about the police chief or the police themselves. This is about mitigation matters so that we can make sure there is community safety.”
“Every mother wants to see their child come home,” Topeka Pastor and Educator Sandra Lassiter said. “Every police officer’s family wants to see him come home. Well, why do we have to be more concerned about our black sons, or husbands, or relatives every time they step out, will they return.”
Advocates are planning on attending the upcoming city council meeting on Tuesday, to once again make their voice heard.