Two Kansas City Officers Charged With Brutally Assaulting Transgender Woman

Two Kansas City, Mo., police officers have been indicted on assault charges a year after a passer-by captured them on video slamming a transgender woman to the sidewalk and kneeing her in the face.

Officers Matthew G. Brummett and Charles Prichard, were each charged on Friday with fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, for “recklessly causing pain” to Breona Hill, 30, as she was being handcuffed on May 24, 2019, The Kansas City Star reported.

According to the indictment, as the officers were arresting Hill, who was also known as Briya, they slammed her face against the concrete sidewalk and kneed her in the face, torso and ribs.

The officers were responding to a disturbance at a beauty supply store when they went to arrest Briya who was standing outside, prosecutors said. The store owner said he’d called 911 to have Briya removed from the business.

A man who was driving by at the time witnessed part of the encounter and said he began filming on his cellphone after he saw one of the officers punch Briya in the face.

Video captured Brummett slam Briya’s face twice into the sidewalk before dropping his knee on her neck and right shoulder. Brummett is then seen stepping on her hip, as Prichard pulls her hands upward as she remains still, lying face down on the sidewalk, court records said.

Briya, who was killed in an unrelated shooting in October, was issued citations for trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia, the prosecutor’s office said.

Chief Rick Smith of the Kansas City Police Department said in a statement on Friday that the two officers had been placed on “administrative assignment until the outcome of the proceedings.”

Investigators in the Police Department found no probable cause to conclude that the law had been broken, Smith said.

Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County prosecutor, said her office was required to place the case before a grand jury after the Police Department declined to pursue criminal charges against the two officers.

“This case is particularly disappointing that my office was prevented from filing the charge independent of a grand jury,” Ms. Baker said in a statement on Friday, noting that her office tried to limit the use of the grand jury “in the interest of greater transparency.”

Brummett and Prichard have been summoned to appear before a judge in August. They face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 if convicted on the assault charge related to the arrest of Briya, reports The New York Times.

The Times reports:

In the video, Ms. Hill can be heard moaning and crying in pain. A witness took pictures of Ms. Hill’s injuries, including a cut above her right eye and bruises on the left side of her face, after she was brought to Truman Medical Center, according to the affidavit.

A suspect has been charged in connection with the shooting that killed Ms. Hill last year, according to the prosecutor’s office.

She was at least the 22nd known transgender or gender-nonconforming person to be killed in 2019, the majority of whom were black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign. She was at least the third known transgender or gender-nonconforming person to be killed in Kansas City that year, the organization said. In interviews with local news outlets on Saturday, members of Ms. Hill’s family called for a harsher punishment for the officers. Rena Childs, Ms. Hill’s aunt, told KSHB-TV that they should have been charged with a felony.

“They don’t deserve to be on the police force at all, you know,” Ms. Childs said. “Everybody has the right to be treated as a human being. She is missed, but justice will be served.”