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Headlines for Monday, June 1, 2020


Kansas City Protests over Death of George Floyd Turn Violent; Curfew Imposed

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP/KPR) — Weekend protests in Kansas City turned violent prompting officials to impose a curfew in some areas of the city.  Demonstrators gathered in Kansas City and in cities across the country to protest the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and to protest the treatment of blacks in general by law enforcement.  Floyd died in Minneapolis after an officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes while Floyd pleaded with the officer that he could not breathe.  Protests in Kansas City devolved into violence late Saturday, leaving businesses on the County Club Plaza damaged.  Ten people suffered injuries and at least 85 people were arrested.  Violence also erupted in Ferguson on Saturday, where seven officers were injured by rocks, bottles and fireworks, and several businesses and police headquarters were damaged.  Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across America over the weekend.  But peaceful demonstrations against police killings of black people were often overshadowed by unrest that quickly turned into violence, ravaging cities from Philadelphia to Los Angeles.  Outside the White House, police used tear gas and flash-bang grenades against a crowd who started a fire in the street. Thieves in more than 20 California cities smashed into businesses and ran off with sneakers, cellphones and TVs.


Kansans Take Part in Mostly Peaceful Demonstrations Against the Death of George Floyd

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/LJW/KPR) — Several hundred protesters held a rally at the Kansas Statehouse over the weekend to protest the death of George Floyd, the black man who died in Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on his neck.  Similar and mostly peaceful protests were held in cities across the state, including Wichita, Lawrence, Manhattan and Salina.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Sunday evening's protest in Lawrence was peaceful and drew what appeared to be thousands of people.  The newspaper also reports Lawrence police officers were seen handing out bottles of water to demonstrators.  Those gathered in Topeka chanted and wore T-shirts Saturday that recalled the 2017 case of a black man fatally shot by two white police officers in the capital city.  Organizers had promised a peaceful protest and opened the rally with prayer. The racially diverse crowd included children and older adults and held signs with slogans such as "I Can't Breathe" and "Stop Lynching Us." The event in Topeka also highlighted the death of Dominique White in September 2017.  

Kansas Governor Kelly Pledges Action Against Systemic Racism

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday vowed tough conversations and action aimed at combating systemic racism in Kansas institutions in response to what she called the “tragic murder” of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Protesters have marched for the last several days in cities in Kansas and nationwide after Floyd's death last week. The Democratic governor said she’s asked her team to give the issue their full attention and to come up with a plan to “take action in earnest.” She said her heart goes out to those reliving the trauma of violence and systemic racism.


Kansas Reports More Than 10,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 217 Deaths 

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — As of Monday, state health officials had reported 10,011 cases of COVID-19, including 217 deaths.  Cases have been reported in 88 of the state's 105 counties.  (Updated COVID-19 case numbers for Kansas are released Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)  


Kansas Governor's Team to Discuss Coronavirus Relief Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly says a team she appointed to help her plan for the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will begin discussing this week how to spend $1.25 billion in federal relief funds. The Democratic governor also said Monday that she is confident that she can work out an agreement with the Republican-controlled Legislature to give them some oversight over how the funds are spent. Kelly said the money has to be distributed by the end of the year, and she expects the first round of spending to include payments to cities and counties to cover their coronavirus-related costs. 


Missouri Reports 33 New COVID-19 Deaths, Pushing Total to 771

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri has reported another 33 COVID-19-related deaths. The number was up 4.5% on Saturday, increasing the state's total for the coronavirus pandemic to 771. The state Department of Health and Senior Services also said the number of coronavirus cases rose by 1.3%, up 167 cases to 12,962 as of Saturday. The department said 718 people infected with the novel coronavirus have been hospitalized. Meanwhile, The Kansas City Star reported that Lake of the Ozarks bars and restaurants were still bringing in customers, but the crowds were subdued by comparison to those during the previous Memorial Day holiday weekend.


Partygoer at Missouri's Lake of Ozarks Tests Positive for COVID-19

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (AP) — Health officials say they're seeking to “inform mass numbers of unknown people” after a person who attended crowded pool parties over Memorial Day weekend at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks tested positive for COVID-19. Camden County Health Department officials say the resident of Boone County in mid-Missouri tested positive on Sunday after arriving at the lake area a day earlier. Officials said there have been no reported cases of the virus linked to coronavirus in residents of Camden County, where the parties seen in videos and photos posted on social media took place.


Bars, Clubs in Largest Kansas City Packed After Rules Eased

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds of people in Kansas's largest city flocked to bars and clubs on the first weekend they were open after Governor Laura Kelly and local officials lifted restrictions meant to check the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Wichita Eagle reported that by 11 pm Friday, bars in the Old Town district in downtown Wichita were packing in customers for a celebration after being closed for two months. Knots of people moved through the streets, hugging friends they met and in some cases, turning cartwheels. Johns Hopkins University on Saturday reported more than 9,600 coronavirus cases in Kansas, with 215 COVID-19-related deaths.


Kansas Health Secretary Wanted to Keep State COVID-19 Limits and Restrictions Intact

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's top public health administrator acknowledges that he would have preferred that she not lift statewide coronavirus restrictions on businesses. State Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman also said Friday that local officials shouldn't allow bars and nightclubs to reopen yet. Norman said said he advised Kelly on "public health principles" before she acted Tuesday to end statewide restrictions that would have kept bars and night clubs from reopening and would have limited mass gatherings. Health officers in each of the state's 105 counties now decide the rules. The Democratic governor had faced weeks of criticism from the Republican-controlled Legislature.


University of Kansas Sued over Refunds Related to COVID-19

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Two University of Kansas students are suing the school over refunds and other funds they believe they should have received after classes and activities were moved online or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Several universities across the country are facing similar lawsuits. The two anonymous female students based in Johnson County contend the university has refused to issue refunds for campus fees for activities they could not participate in since being sent home in March. They also object to receiving credits for dining packages, rather than refunds. KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the university would not comment on the lawsuit.


With Pompeo Out, GOP Looks to Rep. Marshall in Kansas U.S. Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is definitely out of the race for an open Senate seat in Kansas, and western Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall is now the focus of many Republicans’ hopes. Those Republicans want to keep immigration hardliner and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from winning the GOP nomination. Republican leaders had not expected Pompeo to give up his post as the nation’s top diplomat as the state’s noon Monday candidate filing deadline loomed. Yet he remained the top choice for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders. His decision not to file leaves Marshall and Kobach as the two top rivals in a 11-candidate GOP field. 


Family of Man Killed in Police Beanbag Shooting to Get $3.5 Million

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials will pay $3.5 million to the family of a man who was killed in 2017 with a homemade beanbag round fired by from a Barber County undersheriff at close range. An attorney for the family said in a written statement Monday that Barber County will pay the amount to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by the widow of Steven Myers, who was unarmed and following law enforcement commands when he was shot ön Oct. 6, 2017, by Barber County Undersheriff Virgil “Dusty” Brewer. Brewer is on unpaid leave after being charged in 2018 with reckless involuntary manslaughter in Myers's death.


Kansas City Police Investigate 2 Sunday Night Killings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say two people were killed in separate shootings Sunday night — one only blocks from where protests were being held. Police say that shooting was reported around 11 pm in the city's Midtown neighborhood, about two blocks from demonstrators. Officers nearby for the protest responded and found a man wounded on the ground. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died. Police say that counter to some claims on social media, the shooting did not involve police. The other shooting death happened around 7 pm at an apartment complex in the Loma Vista neighborhood following an argument. Police have not released the names of either victim.


7-Year-Old Driver, Younger Brother Die in Kansas City Area Car Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 7-year-old boy and his 6-year-old brother died in an unincorporated area east of Kansas City, Missouri, Friday when the older brother got access to a car and drove it, eventually losing control and driving off the road. Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Andy Bell said the boys left a residence in the car, drove through a field and then onto a county road. The patrol’s report on the crash says the 2007 Buick Lacross became airborne more than once before eventually landing on its roof and catching fire. The boys were pronounced dead at the scene about 4:20 pm Friday.


One Dead, Two Injured in Early Saturday Kansas City Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating an early Saturday shooting downtown that left one person dead and two injured. Police were alerted to shots fired about 3:30 am. They arrived to find one woman dead and one woman and one man who had been shot, both with critical injuries.  Police spokesman David Jackson said that the initial investigation indicates a family gathering resulted in a disturbance then a shooting.


Shooting on Interstate in Kansas City, Kansas Kills 2

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City, Kansas, police say two people were shot to death while driving in Kansas City, Kansas, over the weekend. Police identified the victims Monday as 41-year-old Talisha Fay Johnson and 38-year-old Anthony Michael Johnson, both of Overland Park. They were shot Saturday night while on an exit ramp from Interstate 70. Two juveniles in the car were not harmed. The suspect, 21-year-old Isaiah Montez Taylor, of Overland Park, was arrested at the scene and faces two counts of first-degree murder. Police believe the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute. 


Homicides Spike in Kansas City; Murders Now on Possible Record Pace

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis has for years suffered the unwanted distinction of having one of the nation’s highest homicide rates. But it’s Missouri’s other big city that is on pace for perhaps the deadliest year on record. Kansas City police report 68 homicides so far this year, compared to 56 in the same period a year ago. The city ended 2019 with 150 homicides, three short of the 1993 record. This year, Kansas City is on pace to top the record, and that doesn’t account for the fact that summer months are typically the most deadly. Neither police nor experts see a connection to the coronavirus pandemic.


Captured: Escaped Colorado Inmates Pretended to be Immigrants

SELLS, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol says two men who escaped from a Colorado prison said they were Mexican immigrants who wished to be deported when agents patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border found them. The agents kept questioning the men and discovered they were 35-year-old Jose Rodriguez and 42-year-old Raul Guzman, who had escaped a minimum-security facility in Florence, Colorado.  The Border Patrol says it arrested a 30-year-old woman who was driving the men, but an aiding and abetting charge was dropped because of coronavirus restrictions. The agency wouldn't release her identify. Rodriguez and Guzman were each serving drug sentences. They have been turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service.  


Kansas Setting Record for Mail Ballot Requests Amid Pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas election officials are receiving mail ballot applications at a historic rate, already exceeding the total number from the last general election in 2016. Election officials are encouraging voting by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Kansas City Star reports that figures from Secretary of State Scott Schwab's office show that staff had processed more than 57,000 applications as of Friday. That's over 3,500 more than 2016's total, and the number is expected to increase. County officials aim to prevent long lines in August and November, as voters elect a new U.S. senator and other lawmakers.


Audit: Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office Missing Money, Guns

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Auditors say about $145,000, guns and drugs are missing from the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office property and evidence storage, and it's possible more could be missing. Sheriff Jeff Easter said an investigation began after an employee noticed the storage area was in disarray in January. A property and evidence technician and a supervisor were the focus of the investigation and no longer work with the department. Sedgwick County Attorney Marc Bennett said some cases have been dismissed because of the missing evidence, most of which was supposed to be destroyed. He says the dismissed cases are lower-level drug cases.


Missouri Man Charged with 9 Felonies in Bridge Shooting

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A 37-year-old Kansas City-area man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and eight other felonies after authorities say he randomly fired into traffic on a bridge that connects Kansas and Missouri. The charges filed Friday in Leavenworth County District Court against Jason Randell Westrem, of Houston City, Missouri, include four counts of firing into an occupied vehicle, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. One person was wounded in the shooting on the Centennial Bridge near Fort Leavenworth before a soldier stationed at the the Army post hit the shooter with his car to stop the firing.


Non-Revenue Sports Fret over College Athlete Compensation

UNDATED (AP) — Coaches in non-revenue sports are worried about the impact legislation allowing compensation for college athletes could have on their programs. More than a dozen national associations in various sports have signed onto a memo outlining "significant concerns" about effects of allowing athletes to profit on use of their names, images and likenesses. Those include reduced resources for lower-profile programs and the risk of "crowdfunded recruiting" to give some schools a competitive advantage. The memo from North Carolina athletics officials went to a law committee examining whether to craft a standardized athlete-compensation law for states to adopt. That committee meets Tuesday.


Survey Shows Midwest Business Leaders Optimistic Despite Coronavirus

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new survey suggests business leaders are optimistic the economy will start to recover later this year in a nine-state region of the Midwest and Plains despite the ongoing impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The region's overall economic index improved in May to 43.5 from April's 35.1. The confidence index in the survey released today (MON) improved to suggest that businesses are optimistic the economy will begin to rebound within the next six months. That index improved to 56.6 in May from April's weak 45.5 reading. Any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while scores below 50 suggest decline. The survey covers Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.  


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