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No one pointed weapon at KCPD officer who shot 3 people last year, new lawsuit says

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Updated June 28, 2024 4:06 PM By Katie Moore

Two people died and one was injured during a shooting involving a Kansas City police officer in June 2023 near 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard that was being investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Two people died and one was injured during a shooting involving a Kansas City police officer in June 2023 near 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard that was being investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Another lawsuit has been filed against a Kansas City police officer who has killed three people and faced several other excessive force allegations. Officer Blayne Newton shot three people in June 2023, killing two of them at the intersection near 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard. A teenager who was shot in the head survived. No one pointed a weapon at Newton during the encounter, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in the Circuit Court of Jackson County. The lawsuit includes wrongful death claims as well as a count of battery on behalf of the surviving victim, or in the alternative, a claim of negligence. It says the victims presented no threat to Newton and that the officer “used an unreasonable amount of force because using deadly force was not necessary under the circumstances.”

Newton remains on the force in the patrol bureau, Sgt. Phil DiMartino, a spokesman for the department, said Friday. KCPD generally does not comment on pending litigation, he said. The Kansas City Law Enforcement Accountability Project has supported the family of the victims of the triple shooting. “Blayne Newton has been allowed to destroy the lives of many and he hasn’t been held accountable,” said KC LEAP’s co-founder Steve Young. “This is totally unacceptable. We are looking forward to the day he will no longer have a badge or gun.”

Triple shooting On June 9, 2023, Newton was driving when he saw a a disturbance between two vehicles. A person on the driver’s side of a truck pointed a firearm out the window toward a white van and then drove off. Dashboard camera footage reviewed by The Star showed Newton, who had been behind the truck, pulled up to the passenger’s side of the white van and opened fire. The van rolled through the intersection before coming to a stop. The passenger in the front seat, Marcell Nelson, 42, who was armed, died, according to attorney John Picerno, who filed the lawsuit. The driver, Kristen Fairchild, 42, was not armed. She also died. A teenager in the backseat was also struck. Two other juveniles in the backseat were not hit.

Recordings from other officers called the scene a “shitshow.” Another said, “You can’t make this up.” The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the shooting. It concluded its case Oct. 2 and sent it to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, Cpl. Justin Ewing, a spokesman for the patrol said. No action has been taken as of yet, according to Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

History of use of force Newton, who has been with the department since 2017, has previously been the subject of excessive force allegations. A lawsuit filed earlier this year alleges he assaulted a woman at a Platte County Walmart. Newton was working off-duty, but wearing a Kansas City Police Department uniform and driving a department patrol vehicle. Bermeeka Mitchell began live-streaming an arrest when Newton allegedly “grabbed and twisted both her arms in a forceful manner,” her lawsuit said, and placed the heel of his boot on her foot and grinded it down. According to court documents, the Kansas City Police Department’s Office of Community Complaints sustained Mitchell’s allegations of excessive force. A May 2023 letter from the OCC said disciplinary action was taken, but it did not provide details.

On March 12, 2020, Newton shot and killed a 47-year-old unarmed man, Donnie Sanders, after a traffic stop near Prospect Avenue. A federal lawsuit remains ongoing in Sanders’ death. Later that year, Newton was accused of placing his knee into the back of a woman who was nine months pregnant during an arrest. He was also one of three officers accused of beating and using a police stun gun on a teenager in 2019.

According to a review of records by The Star, the Kansas City Police Department paid out more than $6.8 million in settlements for incidents including a police chase, false imprisonment and excessive force from February 2023 to February 2024. This story was originally published June 28, 2024, 3:45 PM.Read more at: https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article289610504.html#storylink=cpy