A Kansas City woman went viral this week for “reading” members of the city’s Board of Police Commissioners.
Keiajah Brooks, a Kansas City, Missouri, activist, did not mince words when she addressed the commission during public comment of an Oct. 27 board meeting. Video of her nearly four-minute rant, which she livestreamed on Instagram, had more than 2.6 million views by Oct. 30.
At one point, she told a Trump-supporting commissioner he was “in desperate need of Bosley and a haircut,” then declared that he “exudes white privilege and is the epitome of mediocrity.”
Brooks was lauded by millions of online supporters who delighted in the 20-year-old’s vicious takedown of the body appointed to oversee Kansas City’s finest.
According to the Kansas City Star, Brooks was one of several clergy members and civil rights activists from the community who demanded that the board take a vote to strip Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith of his duties. A steady stream of outspoken critics called Smith out during the monthly meeting’s public comment session, prompting board president Don Wagner to end the meeting abruptly, the Star reported.
Brooks said she wrote her comments during the meeting, and was set off because speakers before her were overly respectful.
“That’s why I got up there and said, ‘Fair warning, I’m not nice or respectable,’” she told Atlanta Black Star during an Oct. 30 interview.
She blasted Kansas City leaders as being apathetic about police brutality. She bristled at a presentation early in the meeting that showed photos of officers playing basketball and eating with Black children as part of one of the police department’s community outreach programs this summer.
“Firstly, stop using Black children as photo opportunities,” Brooks said. “Because they’re cute now, but in 10 years they’re a Black male suspect in red shirt and khaki shorts. Eating cookies and drinking milk with children does not absolve you of your complicity in their oppression and denigration, Rick Smith.”
Brooks did not specifically demand Smith’s removal during her speech, nor did she specify why he’s lost the faith of Kansas City’s Black community. She did have choice words for him.
“You will have to spend overtime in a chapel at the end of your life,” Brooks said. “You have blood on your hands and while these idiots hold you on a pedestal, God does not honor injustice and murder.”
Kansas City Police Sgt. Matthew Neal was charged with assault following a Nov. 14 incident during which he reportedly slammed a handcuffed 15-year-old Black teen’s face on the concrete pavement and knelt on the boy’s head. Several of the teen’s teeth were broken and he required stitches to close a gash on his head following the encounter. A grand jury indicted Neal of felony assault in August. The officer, who remains on administrative leave, was arraigned Oct. 20 and pleaded not guilty, according to KMBC News in Kansas City.
Deja Stallings, 25-year-old pregnant Black woman, had to be hospitalized three times after Blayne Newton, a white Kansas City policeman, knelt on her back with her belly pinned to the ground. Stallings’ baby was born two weeks early with an elevated heart rate.
Video of the Sept. 30 arrest sparked immediate outrage and resulted in “The People’s City,” 21 days of with dozens of people occupying the front lawn of City Hall in Kansas City.
Brooks said she participated in the occupy movement and indicated Newton was also involved in the killing of Donnie Sanders, re-emphasizing a claim that Stallings’ attorney Stacy Shaw has made on Twitter in recent weeks. Sanders, a 47-year-old Black man, was shot March 12 by an officer who thought he was armed. Evidence later proved that Sanders was unarmed. Brooks also pointed to the fatal shooting of Cameron Lamb, a Black man killed by a Kansas City detective in December.
“The atmosphere in Kansas City is there were three unarmed black men murdered in under a year. So we definitely have our own instances of police brutality,” Brooks said Oct. 30. “Kansas City is in dire need of change. We need local control. We’re the only city in America that doesn’t have local control of its police department. So our governor runs our police department, even though our governor lives four hours away and has no idea what goes on in this city.
“Our police department lacks transparency,” she added. “It’s just a terrible police department that gets way too much money.”
According to The Star, protesters have for months pressured the police chief to resign, saying he’s mishandled police shootings that have left Black men dead. The coalition of community groups also alleges the police force has a history of using excessive force. They are calling for more police accountability and want half of the department’s budget diverted to social services and other programs.
During her Oct. 27 remarks, Brooks decried the police department’s budget being more than that of public school districts and seethed at being labeled a radical, “homegrown terrorist” for advocating against police killings of citizens. But she wasn’t there for reform during the meeting, saying she had no interest in “begging anything of soulless white folks and self-preserving Black folks. She was only intent on eviscerating the “soulless, profit-driven, avaricious, greedy, Godforsaken” city officials for failing to take action.
“So I’m going to spend the next two minutes reading y’all for filth, something I’m sure nobody has ever done,” Brooks told them.
And with that she lit into commissioners, hurl a savage barrage of insults on each of them one by one.
“Nathan, the gentleman in the vomit colored Men’s Wearhouse suit in desperate need of Bosley and a haircut,” she told commissioner Nathan Garrett. “A former FBI agent who exudes white privilege and is the epitome of mediocrity, and loves Trump so much that he hired his former Attorney General at his firm.”
She chided Commissioner Mark Tolbert, a local pastor, for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ from the pulpit while subjecting Black residents to the Kansas City Police Department’s “terrorism.”
She then turned her blistering gaze to Commissioner Cathy Dean, telling the board woman she “didn’t have anything else to do at 8 o’clock in the morning but the rich and white and retired.”
Brooks’ harshest barb was perhaps aimed at Board President Don Wagner, a part-owner of the Kansas City Royals.
Brooks dismissed him as just “another rich and white and disconnected and out of touch person with nothing but pure apathy seeping through the bulging veins of your paper colored skin.
“You age like trash when you’re racist, and subject others to violence,” she told him.
Fittingly, Brooks closed out her epic drag with a Biblical scripture, referring to Jesus as “another unarmed black man murdered by authorities” and calling the Bible “the book you hellbound people claim to love so much.”
She left the commissioners with Mark 8:36.
“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”