WPD Chief Ramsay responds to report on investigations into police shootings

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Friday, July 12, 2019

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay is responding to a report that he removed high-ranking officers or detectives from internal investigations on officer-involved shootings.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported on court documents in which Ramsay stated that he felt like they were asking leading questions that may lead officers to claim self-defense.

After the report was published, Eyewitness News reached out to the police department for comment and received the following response, "This deposition is part on ongoing litigation and therefore we cannot provide any further comment."

Friday afternoon, Ramsay released the following a statement:

"As Wichita Police Chief I am and always have been confident in the men and women of the Wichita Police Department (WPD).

Since arriving in Wichita in January 2016, I have been committed to moving the WPD organization in the direction to best serve Wichita. In doing this, I continually make personnel changes based on rank, experience, union contracts and strengths of each individual employee. This is common practice among police departments across the nation.

A recent Associated Press article speaks about removing high-ranking officers and detectives regarding probes of police shootings. Please remember the deposition referenced is only an excerpt of a larger deposition. The department members involved are good officers and good employees, striving to reach the goals of the WPD. They committed no legal or WPD internal violations. The employees moved to different positions based on their strengths and where they could best serve the department. The change was made to foster better community relations and to add transparency. Taking a snippet from a deposition that lasted hours and drawing conclusions does not give full context and unnecessarily hurts the good name of our investigators."

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay testified in a newly released deposition that he was so concerned about the fairness of internal department probes of police shootings in Wichita that he removed the high-ranking officers overseeing them and detectives conducting them.

Ramsay acknowledged investigators asked leading questions that could have prompted officers to claim the shootings were in self-defense.

He also testified that detectives working on the internal probes got involved in the related criminal investigations and were "potentially contaminating" those investigations.

Excerpts of the chief's May 24 deposition were included in a court filing this week in a lawsuit filed by the family of Andrew Finch. The unarmed Wichita man was killed by police in 2017 when a dispute over an online video game sparked a hoax call.

But it's not clear exactly what officer-involved shootings Ramsay referred to because he also addressed an officer-involved shooting from 2015 where a Wichita police officer shot and killed John Paul Quintero.

Documents say Ramsay took multiple questions on the topic. One question an attorney asked was about why Ramsay moved some officers from the investigation.

The chief responded it wasn't just for leading questions, but "also fairness of the investigation."

Eyewitness News reached out to the Wichita Police Department Thursday. The department says the deposition is part of ongoing litigation and it cannot provide further comment.

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