Jean Peters Baker

File photo

Facing a rise in police excessive force cases often gone viral on social media, a national group of prosecutors issued a “guidance document” Friday designed to help law enforcement work in a more public and proactive manner.

Led by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, the report by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys urges local and regional agencies to be more transparent, quickly respond to a scene and create written internal protocols.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pastor Adam Carter is standing next to a single white cross in the front lawn of the Leawood Baptist Church on State Line Road. For the final weeks of the year, the lawn was a sea of white crosses, each representing a homicide victim. The visual, he says, would stop you in your tracks.

"Each cross wasn't just a piece of wood, it represented a human life," Carter says. "So when you look at it from that perspective, it was extremely overwhelming."

Overwhelming because of the sheer number of lives lost last year. 

Eva Wilson / Leawood Baptist Church

Kansas City recently hit a milestone: 2016 saw the highest number of homicides in the past 10 years. What's going on in the metro? A look at what each death means for KC and its children.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon came to Kansas City Wednesday to sign legislation strengthening laws against human trafficking.

“We tend to think of human trafficking as something that happens in a distant, undeveloped country,” Nixon said. “But the tragic reality is, right here in the United States, human trafficking is a real and growing problem.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker doesn’t think victims and first responders should lose their right to privacy just because they’re witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Baker filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday firing back at a St. Louis judge who in several cases has ordered the City Circuit Attorney there to disclose the home addresses of crime victims and law enforcement officers scheduled to testify in court.

“We're not trying to hide them,” Baker says. “But what we are trying to do is balance their privacy right against our system of justice.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The father of a toddler who died last week after accidentally shooting herself with his gun has been charged with second degree murder, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday.

Courtenay Block, 24, told police he was sleeping when his 2-year-old daughter shot herself in the head April 21.

“Children are not responsible for their own safety,” Baker said at a news conference. “That’s our job. Your job and mine.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County Prosecutor announced charges Tuesday in the murder of a Raytown man gunned down while jogging near Blue Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street.

Craig L. Brown, 24, faces a single count of second degree murder in the May 13, 2012, shooting death of Harry Stone, 60. Stone described the two men who’d fired at him from a passing car to an anesthesiologist before dying in surgery.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker describes the Kansas City No Violence Alliance not as a program, but as a “mission shift” for how the city tackles violence.

“We don’t expect 40 years of violence to recede in one year or two years or three years,” Peters Baker says.

Peters Baker, along with Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James and several of NoVA’s partners will testify before the U.S. Senate Law Enforcement Caucus in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Kansas City police are investigating a shooting that took the lives of three people Tuesday night in south Kansas City, one of them an infant. This is the fourth deadly shooting in the city in the past week.

Missouri will not ease up on former convicts who committed sex crimes when they were juveniles, and state lawmakers are getting praise for the decision in some law enforcement circles.

In the legislature, there was enough concern about the bill passed during the regular session that it was never even brought up for a vote in this week’s special session to consider the governor’s vetoes.

This was one that got Governor Jay Nixon’s red stamp. 

Top Of The Morning News: March 14, 2013

Mar 14, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The Kansas City Fire Department released a report on the explosion that happened at JJ's restaurant in February, and Missouri launched a new campaign to discourage meth "smurfing." These stories & more from KCUR.

Explosion Probe Incomplete

Frank Morris / KCUR

Missouri holds the dubious distinction of being #1 in domestic methamphetamine production. State Attorney General Chris Koster and Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County Prosecutor, unveiled an effort to curb meth by shaming people who help drug producers get around limits on pseudoephedrine sales.