Traffic officer says he was told to target minority drivers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Police Department leaders encouraged officers to meet illegal ticket quotas by targeting drivers in Black and other minority neighborhoods, a lawsuit filed by an officer contends.

Edward Williams, a white traffic officer who said he’s been with the department for 21 years, filed the discrimination lawsuit Monday, the Kansas City Star reported.

Racial profiling is a violation of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ticket quotas are also illegal under a Missouri state law passed in 2016.

Kansas City police Chief Stacey Graves said in a written statement that the department “is dedicated to policing that is both equitable and fair in all aspects of our duties.” She said officers do not direct enforcement activities based on demographics but instead on high crash areas and citizen traffic complaint locations.

Williams was reprimanded after he reported the violations to his superiors, Williams’ attorney, Gerald Gray II, said.

“Officers have received unsatisfactory marks on their evaluations and had duties and benefits stripped for low ticket writing numbers,” the lawsuit states. “This continues to this date.”

It comes several months after the U.S. Department of Justice announced an investigation into the department’s employment practices to determine if it engaged in any racial discrimination.