Community activists on Friday called for a federal investigation of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department, which has been the focus of several scandals in recent years.
The social justice organization MORE2 announced its plans to file a request with the U.S. Department of Justice, saying authorities need to investigate former detective Roger Golubski, who is accused of rape and was involved in a wrongful conviction that sent a man to prison for more than two decades.
The department has been plagued by other controversies in recent years, including the conviction of an officer accused of sexual battery and an investigation of a former police chief on allegations he misused public property.
The police department came under increasing scrutiny after October 2017, when Lamonte McIntyre was freed after spending 23 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit.
During the legal battle for McIntyre’s release, Kansas City attorney Cheryl Pilate raised serious allegations of misconduct on the part of Golubski and former Wyandotte County assistant prosecutor Terra Morehead.
Golubski worked for the Kansas City, Kansas, police department for 35 years.
In a lawsuit filed by McIntyre and his mother, Rose McIntyre, Golubski is accused of using his police badge to exploit Black women for sexual favors and coercing some of them into fabricating testimony. In at least one instance, he is accused of repeatedly raping a woman whose children he had promised to help get out of legal trouble.
Questions have been raised publicly about how much the department knew about Golubski’s behavior.
During a deposition in the lawsuit last year, Golubski declined more than 550 times to answer questions.
Sexual battery and discrimination
Former officer Steven Rios was charged with sexually assaulting a cadet who worked under him in 2018. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and retired from the department in 2019.
The cadet was repeatedly assaulted and was fired in retaliation for reporting the behavior,according to a lawsuit filed against Rios and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas.
In another lawsuit filed in 2019, a police officer claimed she faced discrimination and sexism and that African American officers were disciplined more severely than white officers for the same infractions.
In the department, “racial comments and jokes are common, with little or no discipline being imposed,” the lawsuit said. That environment continued under now-retired Police Chief Terry Zeigler, who “fostered an atmosphere” of race and gender discrimination, according to the lawsuit.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation in 2019 into whether Zeigler “double dipped” when he took time off to work on property he was leasing from the Unified Government at Wyandotte County Lake.
Citizens and open government advocates had raised questions last year about the police chief’s use of the county-owned lake house.
For months, Zeigler lived in the house at Wyandotte Lake Park under a handshake deal with Unified Government officials that allowed him to pay little rent in return for making repairs to the property.
Officials put the lease in writing after a citizen inquired about it.
Increasingly, members of the public asked how much Zeigler knew about the allegations against Golubski, who had been his partner on the police force.
Ziegler retired in September 2019.
Interim Police Chief Michael York led the department until last month when Karl Oakman was sworn in as the new police chief.