Kansas City police department welcomes interim police chief

April 22, 2022 GMT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Police Department has a new interim police chief, replacing embattled Chief Rick Smith, who officially retired on Friday.

Deputy Chief Joe Mabin, a 22-year veteran of the department who currently leads its investigation department, was sworn in Friday. He has said he does not plan to seek the permanent position, The Kansas City Star reported.

Smith, who served 34 years in the department, had been chief since 2017.

Civil rights activists pushed for years to have Smith retire or be fired, citing his department’s handling of excessive force complaints against his officers and the shooting of Black men by officers.

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The police department announced in November that Smith planned to retire this spring.

The announcement came just days after former detective Eric DeValkenaere was convicted of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the Dec. 3, 2019, killing of Cameron Lamb, a Black man.

The Star reported that Smith had been forced out but he maintained he always planned to serve only five years as chief and would retire after the city’s budget process was completed this year.