Monday, April 12, 2010

Plaza incident

As you’ve probably heard, large crowds of juveniles converged on the Country Club Plaza on Saturday night and wreaked havoc throughout. They intimidated shoppers and diners, destroyed property, committed a strong-arm robbery, and a juvenile suffered severe head injuries in an aggravated assault. Police took control of the crowds using traffic crews to close streets, pepper spray to disperse the crowds and a helicopter overhead to help officers on the ground find the most troublesome areas.

We will be taking a number of measures to ensure those who shop, visit, dine at and stroll around Kansas City’s historic Plaza area can do so without fear. We will be meeting with the Plaza Merchant’s Association, NAACP and others to put together the best possible plan to allow Plaza patrons to fully enjoy themselves while keeping disorder at bay. We plan strict enforcement this weekend and for future weekends, and it will be mobile in case problems arise elsewhere.

We will be closely following the development of any similar events. If you hear of a group planning to organize something like this, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. You will remain anonymous, and you could save someone’s life. As I mentioned, one young man was seriously hurt in Saturday night’s incident.

A brief description of what took place:

Due to larger crowds of juveniles there the previous (Easter) weekend, we put an extra 18 officers and three sergeants to patrol the Plaza this past weekend. The activity began when about 200-300 juveniles exited the Cinemark theater and began to move east. More juveniles joined them, though officers said most did not drive. They were either dropped off by parents or arrived by bus. Not until after the incident did police learn the gathering may have been planned on social media sites. Police believe there were about 700 total juveniles involved, ages 11 to 17.

Here is a full report on incidents that happened that night.

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