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Headlines for Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hundreds Rally in Topeka over Minnesota Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Several hundred protesters rallied at the Kansas Statehouse to protest George Floyd’s death in Minnesota. Chants and T-shirts worn by participants Saturday recalled the 2017 case of a black man fatally shot by two white police officers in Topeka. Organizers promised a peaceful protest and opened 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.” Floyd, who’d been handcuffed, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Attendees at the Topeka event also remembered 30-year-old Dominique White's death in Topeka in September 2017. 


KC Protests Lead to Arrests; National Guard Activated

KANSAS CITY, Mo (KPR/AP) — About 50 people were arrested and ten injured when protests turned violent in and near the Country Club Plaza shopping and entertainment district.  The Kansas City Star reports that, unlike Friday night's protests which were largely peaceful, Kansas City police said "several large violent groups" broke windows, threw bottles and rocks, looted businesses, and set a police car on fire.  Kansas City Major Quinton Lucas had earlier urged protestors to go home safely.  Around 8pm, Kansas City police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.  Missouri Governor Mike Parson activated the Missouri National Guard to help respond to protests in Kansas City, St. Louis, and around the state that he described as creating  hazards that are beyond the abilities of local authorities to manage.


Large Crowds Attend Two Separate Wichita Rallies

WICHITA, Kan. (KPR) Wichita police estimate about 1,800 people attended a peaceful protest organized by the Wichita Police Department.  The Wichita Eagle reports the event was one of two demonstrations held in Wichita yesterday (SAT).  About 500 people, many of them younger protestors, marched through downtown Wichita last night.


KCK Officials to Meet with Clergy over Protests

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials in Wyandotte County said Friday that they plan to meet with clergy early next week in the wake of George Floyd's death and ensuing protests across the country. Wyandotte County Sheriff Donald Ash, Interim Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Michael York and county-city Unified Government Mayor Mayor David Alvey expect to participate in Monday’s meeting. They said they want to discuss how to ensure police respect the “life and dignity” of all people.


Wichita Bars, Clubs Reopen to Big Crowds

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds of people flocked to Wichita 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 p.m. 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 Setting Record for Mail Ballot Requests

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 officals 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.


Homicides Spike in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City may be heading for its 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.


7-year-old Driver, Younger Brother Die in Car Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 7-year-old boy and 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 p.m. Friday.


One Dead, Two Injured in KC 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 a.m. 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 in a news release that the initial investigation indicates a family gathering resulted in a disturbance then a shooting.


Missouri Reports Jump in COVID Cases, Deaths

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s health department on Friday cited 31 additional coronavirus deaths, among the highest one-day increases reported since the pandemic began. The website for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Friday shows 738 deaths, up from 707 on Thursday. The website also shows an increase of 122 confirmed cases. Governor Mike Parson allowed the state to reopen May 5th, though with restrictions. On Thursday, he announced that the second phase of the plan was pushed back from May 31st to June 15th. He says the change was simply out of an abundance of caution.


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