TOPEKA (KSNT) — The families of two men who were killed by officers of the Topeka Police Department are asking law enforcement to be more transparent with their work.
A spokesperson for the families and legal teams of Christopher D. Kelley and Taylor L. Lowery told 27 News they plan to hold a news conference Sunday, Feb. 26 at 3:00 p.m. at 1162 Southwest Lincoln St. in Topeka. The group is asking the Topeka police to release body camera footage of the deaths to the public.
Longstanding problems with policies, procedures, and training have deadly results for people suffering from mental health crises, and the danger disproportionately impacts people of color and of color.
Extract from the statement of the Kelley and Lowery families
The families say they hold Capital and its police accountable for taking steps to address what they see as a mistrust created due to a lack of transparency, oversight and accountability.
Kelley was killed by police on June 29, 2022. Officers responded in the area of Southeast Fourth and Southeast Holliday streets near the rail yard to a report of a knife-wielding man threatening people. After non-lethal methods failed to subdue Kelley, officers shot her at her as she charged them with the knife. He later died in a local hospital. The shooting was ruled justified by the Shawnee County District Attorney on September 22, 2022. In the days following the killing, a group of Topekans demanded police accountability.
Lowery was killed by police on October 13, 2022. Officers responded to a disturbance at a home in southwest Topeka and found Lowery armed with a knife and wrench. Lowery then left the house. Officers later confronted him again at a Topeka Kwik store where they said he was trying to steal a vehicle with a woman and child inside. The officers shot and killed Lowery when he charged them with the knife. The Shawnee County District Attorney later announced that the killing by police was justified. 27 News spoke to Lowery’s family shortly after the shooting.
A special committee of Topeka City Council members formed in 2020 by former Mayor Michelle De La Isla to handle police reform presented a draft of its recommendations to the city in June of last year. The special committee disbanded after submitting its recommendations.
KSNT 27 News has reached out to the City of Topeka and the TPD for comment regarding this situation.