Police Shooting Prompts a Father’s Call for Body Cameras in Kansas City, Mo.

Last year, city officials weighed the implementation of the technology, estimating it could cost the police department as much as $6 million.

by Max Londberg, The Kansas City Star / June 22, 2018
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(TNS) — Days after his only son was killed by police, Mark Draper tried to hold it together for his great-grandson.

But his daughter caught him clenching his eyes shut, taking deep breaths. She knew his mind was elsewhere.

"I'm not supposed to bury him. He's supposed to bury me," Mark Draper said Thursday by phone from his home in Lowry City, about 20 miles south of Clinton. "(Kansas City police) cost me more than I ever thought I'd lose.

"…It hurts my soul."

On Wednesday Kansas City police released additional details in last week's shooting at the Barney Allis Plaza. Police said Draper's son was "struggling and physically intertwined" with another man who pointed a gun at officers, prompting them to fire. Video shows three officers running toward the two men with guns drawn and firing within 10 seconds.

Robert A. White, Draper's 34-year-old son, was killed, as was the man police say had the gun, Timothy Mosley of Tulsa, Okla. White battled symptoms of mental illness for years, including paranoia.

Draper, 60, called on Kansas City police to implement body cameras to clear up lingering questions in situations like this one.

"I believe in law enforcement," Draper said. "I'm not picking on police, but from what I've seen, they came in with guns blazing. … If officers had cameras on them, they could show the view on each one of them."

Before fighting with White, Mosley was thrown out of the nearby Marriott Hotel for causing a disturbance, police said. He then allegedly walked into the plaza and used a handgun to rob a uniformed security guard of some personal property and a golf cart. The security guard escaped.

White's sister, Andrea Kleindienst, echoed her father's call for implementing body cameras.

As Kansas City police — which internally investigates shootings its officers are involved in over critics complaints — reviews evidence in the shooting, Kleindienst asked, "Why can't we? Why can't we expect the same from them by being required to wear body-worn cameras?"

Cameras would eliminate any suspicions of police's conclusions, she added.

Last June, officials said it could take until 2020 to implement the technology, with initial costs estimated at $6 million for the Department.

When asked for updates Thursday on their progress, Jacob Becchina, a police spokesman, said, "We are always exploring technology that is out there that will make us more effective and better able to serve the public."

He added that the three officers' names would not be released and said he didn't have "specific information" regarding whether they were on paid administrative leave, a typical outcome following officer-involved shootings.

Matthew Sinno, a Massachusetts man who witnessed the shooting from the ninth-floor of the nearby Marriott Hotel, said officers yelled commands, imploring Mosley to drop the weapon and raise his hands before they fired.

Mosley and White were obscured by trees from his vantage when they were killed.

"The only people who really know what happened that day are the three police officers," he said, adding, "I imagine they should all wear body cameras for both sides — to protect police … and protect victims for when lethal force isn't necessary."

Police said they recovered a spent shell casing that matched the caliber of Mosley's gun. Sinno said he didn't hear any gunshots until police arrived.

Police have not responded to a question asked last week about whether officers took fire.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, following precedent, called Kleindienst on Thursday and offered condolences.

"In the kindest, most professional way, she said she's not going to sugarcoat anything, on either end" in her investigation of the shooting, Kleindienst said.

White's family planned to cremate his body Thursday.

Draper concluded after viewing the video that police killed his son "like a mad dog."

"My son didn’t have a gun, didn't have a weapon, wasn’t threatening the police officers, but my son’s dead," he said. "Will he get justice?"

©2018 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.