Video Shows Arrest of KC Neighborhood Leader Alleging Racial Profiling by Independence Cop
An Independence police dashboard camera captured the October arrest of a local neighborhood leader who claims she was racially profiled. Rachel Riley was pulled over on Oct. 4 by Officer Brett Schmidli after she allegedly crossed railroad tracks as the safety arms were lowering. The 57 year old has served as president of Kansas City’s East 23rd St. Pac Neighborhood Association for eight years. She’s been involved with the organization for two decades.
Earlier this month, Riley said she was racially profiled and organized a protest in front of the police department. Attendees then marched across the street to Independence’s municipal court where she had a hearing on the traffic citation and a charge of interfering with police. The video shows Schmidli order her out of the truck so he can check her eyes for impairment. Riley asks for a sergeant. Get unlimited digital access Try 1 month for $1 CLAIM OFFER “I fear for my safety,” she says. He then opens the driver’s side door. “Don’t pull me out of the car,” she says. He grabs Riley out of the vehicle and she is handcuffed. As she is being walked to the patrol car, she accuses him of being racist. They go out of view of the video, but Riley can be heard saying, “Why are you manhandling me? Why are you harassing me?” She was taken to jail. Riley said the encounter left her traumatized.
John Picerno, a Kansas City criminal defense lawyer, said if police make a valid car stop, an officer has the right to ask you to exit the vehicle and you must comply. Even though a complaint was not filed, the video was “informally reviewed,” according to Officer Jack Taylor, a spokesman for the police department. “The stop was determined to be lawful and Officer Schmidli’ s actions did not appear to violate any laws or policies of the Police Department,” Taylor said in a statement.
Jesse Rizzo, a team member with the Kansas City Law Enforcement Accountability Project, said the incident could have been handled more professionally and that people of color suffer disproportionately at the hands of law enforcement. The Independence Police Department stops, searches and arrests Black drivers at a disproportionate rate, according to a report released earlier this year by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. “The complete dismissal of the woman’s concerns in that regard by the white officer is at best massively ignorant and at worst, intentional gaslighting,” Rizzo said. of Service X