Police protest, counter-protest planned Tuesday ahead of Wichita City Council meeting

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 10:26 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Two groups plan to meet Tuesday morning at the City of Wichita council meeting.

The Project Justice ICT group has an event called “Tuesday’s Action – Speak at the City Council Meeting.” The event description says, “We want to defund police and prisons, and reallocate those funds towards public services for our communities.”

A counter-protest is also scheduled Tuesday before the council meeting. It is called “Back our Blue.” This event has combined with two other rallies that were scheduled, “Back the Blue: and “Show Up for Wichita Police.”

“I don’t know if momma bear just took over or what, but I felt like I needed to say something. We’re so used to being the shadows and being quiet, just for safety reasons. I just felt like it was time to speak up and show the guys out there that we do support them and we love them,” said Dawn Johanson, mother of a Wichita Police Department officer and organizer of the Back our Blue event.

Dawn’s husband, Lance Johanson said the visible support for his son and other officers is giving a voice to the “silent majority.”

KWCH tried to contact the organizer of Project Justice ICT Monday but did not get a response.

On Friday, a petition began circulating on social media called “Citizens AGAINST Defunding the Wichita Police Department.” The petition has more than 10,000 signatures.

“Defund the police is a divisive statement. We all want the same thing. We all want peace in our community, we want low crime, we want help fro people that are suffering from addictions and mental health,” WPD Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “How it’s paid for is really what it comes down to.”

The Wichita City Council on Tuesday plans to adopt a budget that likely will give the WPD more funding.

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