KC Freedom Project hosts rally outside Douglas Co. Courthouse

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 5:34 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The KC Freedom Project will host a rally outside the Douglas County Courthouse.

The KC Freedom Project says it will be holding a rally outside the Douglas County Courthouse on Wednesday, July 15, at 11 a.m.

The KC Freedom Project says it is working with several organizations to brings awareness to the tremendous role that prosecutors have in determining who will come into the criminal justice system, what charges they face and the trajectory of their case thereafter. It says the focus of this particular event is to hold the prosecutor’s office accountable for their complicity in a system that fails to uphold justice for its most vulnerable members.

The organization says Charles Branson has been the elected prosecutor in Douglas Co. since 2004 and the rally will bring attention to the need for accountability and transparency in his office.

“There is no true justice without prosecutor accountability and transparency,” says organizer Latahra Smith.

According to the organization, the Douglas Co. prosecutor’s office has been silent about the multiple acts of prosecutorial misconduct committed by the Chief Assistant DA Amy McGowan which led to the Kansas Supreme Court requesting that she not prosecute major felony cases.

KC Freedom Project says over the course of Branson’s tenure he has continued to allow McGowan to prosecute cases disregarding the request of the Kansas Supreme Court and due to McGowan’s acts of prosecutor misconduct, it demands the Douglas Co. District Attorney’s office implement a Conviction Integrity Review Unit.

The organization says CIUs across the nation have been working to free those who are innocent or wrongly convicted as a result of prosecutorial misconduct.

“We demand Branson immediately establish a working, viable and sustainable Conviction Integrity Unit,” says the group. “We demand Branson to review all cases handled by Chief DA Amy McGowan, including but not limited to; Allen Dale Smith, Shanna Friday and Albert Wilson.”

The organization says currently, due to multiple previous acts of misconduct, Amy McGowan is under investigation with both the Kansas Office of Disciplinary Administration and the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. In Dougals Co. alone three cases have been overturned by Kansas judges due to her misconduct says the group.

KC Freedom Project says rally speakers include:

  • Latahra Smith, KC Freedom Project
  • Reggie Griffin, Death Row Exoneree
  • Keith Brown, MO CURE
  • Tasha Neal, Freedom Fighter
  • Sahj Kaya, Exonerate Ma People
  • Ester Holzendorf, Sankofa KC
  • Eve Moffatt, Mothers of the Wrongly Convicted
  • Ari Davis, Freedom Fighter
  • Tia Hardwell, Justice for Albert Wilson
  • Brandi Olachi, Black Lives Matter advocate

KC Freedom Fighters says this is to be a peaceful gathering seeking to address the role of the prosecutor in mass incarceration and wrongful convictions. It is looking to hear from people who have been affected by the detention policies of the Douglas County Prosecutor’s Office. It says Charles Branson has been invited to answer questions and describe his plans to move the prosecutor’s office towards transparency, accountability and a more just Douglas County.

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