Civil Rights

Law enforcement supporters and Black Lives Matter activists converged outside Topeka's city hall during August. Fort Hays State University's statewide survey shows 49% of Kansans believe Black Lives Matter sharpened the racial divide in the United States. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

FHSU survey finds Trump leading in Kansas, half say BLM deepens racial divide

BY: - October 27, 2020

Annual poll by Fort Hays State University shows support for Trump, frustration with Black Lives Matter and desire to legalize recreational marijuana.

Democratic state Senate candidate Lindsey Constance, left, at an event with Sen. Dinah Sykes, a Lenexa Democrat, denounced as false GOP claims she sought to deflate funding for police while on the Shawnee City Council. (Submitted)

Senate candidate rejects GOP mailers distorting her votes on police budget

BY: - October 26, 2020

Kansas Senate candidate Lindsey Constance rips GOP mailers falsely claiming she supported defunding Shawnee police department.

KC Freedom Project’s Latahra Smith answers call for justice from wrongfully convicted

BY: - October 26, 2020

Lataruh Smith leads KC Freedom Project, a ministry working for people allegedly wrongfully imprisoned. Her fight is personal and professional.

Activist: Repeat caller weaponized Topeka police against autistic child

BY: - October 23, 2020

TOPEKA — An activist supporting a child with autism who was handcuffed and thrown to the ground by a Topeka police officer says the department is allowing residents to weaponize officers against minorities. The 14-year-old boy’s family and supporters are calling for increased accountability for those who file false reports or claims and that the […]

Biden in final debate vows immigration overhaul in first 100 days as president

BY: - October 23, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday night distanced himself from the Obama administration’s handling of undocumented people that led to the highest rate of deportations of any presidency and said he would act swiftly on immigration as president. During the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Biden admitted the Obama […]

Topeka police audit finds concerning behavior by officer who used force on autistic child

BY: - October 20, 2020

TOPEKA — A Topeka police auditor determined an officer abided by department policy but used “concerning” judgment last month when he cursed at an autistic child, pepper sprayed the child’s dog, and handcuffed and threw the child to the ground, breaking the child’s wrist. Body camera video shows the officer yelling at the 14-year-old boy […]

The Kansas Department of Labor responded to an increase in credible threats of violence against the agency and its employees by suspending on camera television interviews. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Senate panel endorses confirmation of Robba Moran, three others

BY: - October 19, 2020

The Kansas Senate's confirmation committee votes to affirm nominations of two people to the State Banking Board and to the KU Hospital board.

‘Representation matters’: Kansas candidates hope to bring diverse voices to office

BY: - October 17, 2020

MANHATTAN — Stephanie Byers sits in her living room, surrounded by her collection of guitars, to participate in one of the many Zoom calls on her schedule. The Democratic candidate for the Kansas House said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced her to change the way she campaigns. In March, she walked the Wichita district’s streets, […]

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt signed onto a brief with more than a dozen attorneys general in a Texas lawsuit questioning swing-state vote counts in the election President Donald Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Federal judge affirms constitutionality of Kansas’ 250-foot buffer zone at voting sites

BY: - October 7, 2020

The Kansas law forbidding electioneering within a 250-foot radius of voting sites is deemed constitutional by a federal judge.

to COVID-19 and lifting the statewide disaster declaration allowing suspension of speedy-trial rules would overwhelm the judicial branch. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

COVID-19 infects Kansas judicial system with backlog of more than 1,700 trials

BY: - October 7, 2020

At least 1,700 criminal trials have been delayed due to COVID-19 in Kansas, and lifting statewide disaster declaration will overwhelm judiciary.

Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Act opened floodgates for new restrictions

BY: - October 7, 2020

It hadn’t even been a day since the U.S. Supreme Court dismantled one of the pillars of voting rights in America, and North Carolina lawmakers weren’t wasting any time. Republican legislators had been contemplating a bill that would require photo identification to vote. The bill had plenty of support, but it had spent the past […]

Black Lives Matter casts doubt on independence of Topeka’s police auditor

BY: - October 6, 2020

TOPEKA — Leaders of Black Lives Matter Topeka say the city’s police department must shift its focus to correcting unjust policing systems and practices to achieve meaningful reform. More than 50 people gathered Tuesday evening in front of the Statehouse before marching in near silence to City Hall, where they called for increased accountability from […]