Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Lawrence police release one-page document stemming from shooting of man by Topeka police

November 9, 2017

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Two days after being accused of skirting open records law, the Lawrence Police Department has created and publicly released the front page of a Kansas Standard Offense Report stemming from the shooting of a man by Topeka police, which Lawrence police are investigating.

The Journal-World requested and obtained the report Thursday afternoon.

It contains no details other than the time and location Lawrence police were dispatched — 10:37 a.m. Sept. 28 to the 300 block of SE Lawrence St. in Topeka — and the category of incident — “assist outside agency” reported by the Topeka Police Department. The document also indicates the time Lawrence police cleared the scene, 6:30 p.m.

But the report very well may open up the possibility that the Topeka Police Department now will release its own report on the incident. Previously, the Topeka Police Department has said the Lawrence Police Department is responsible for releasing reports on the matter. A statement from the Lawrence Police Department, though, raised the possibility of the Topeka Police Department releasing records.

“After substantial review, the Lawrence Police Department has completed an Assist Outside Agency Kansas Standard Offense Report (KSOR) related to the Topeka officer-involved shooting,” Lawrence Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Amy Rhoads said. “Normally, KSOR documents are produced by the agency of jurisdiction, and in this instance, there was discussion regarding which agency retained jurisdiction, and whether more than one KSOR would be required.”

Rhoads added that requests for other public records about the incident should be directed to the Topeka Police Department.

UPDATE 5:45 P.M.: The Topeka Police Department has released a report. However, the police report does not list the names of any officers involved in the incident. It merely lists the "city of Topeka" as the victim, and provides basic details such as the time and location of the call.

The document released by the Lawrence Police Department includes no names, including possible other witnesses or the two Topeka police officers who were involved.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Tuesday that both Topeka and Lawrence police had denied media requests for such a document — which is a public record — citing the fact that neither agency had created one.

Ron Keefover, president of the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, was quoted by the Topeka Capital-Journal as saying, "I think that's a purposeful attempt to circumvent the Kansas Open Records Act.”

On Thursday, the Lawrence Police Department's response cited a misunderstanding of who was responsible for compiling the reports as the reason it hadn't yet been released.

The officer-involved shooting happened the morning of Sept. 28 near the intersection of SE Third and SE Lawrence streets, near Topeka’s Ripley Park. Dominique T. White, 30, of Topeka, was killed.

The Topeka police department said in a news release after the shooting that the officers shot White in a park when he was trying to flee and reached for a pocket containing a handgun.

Earlier this week, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported White's death certificate said he died from gunshot wounds to his back.

Despite protests from White's relatives and Lawrence and Topeka activists, Lawrence police have declined to share details about the incident, saying doing so would interfere with their ongoing investigation.

Contact public safety reporter Sara Shepherd
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