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Mother of victim returns for answers

By Bethany Knipp

In another attempt to get answers about her son’s shooting, one woman accepted a compromise with police administrators during a Riley County Law Enforcement Agency Board meeting on Monday.

Sophia Starks of Memphis was back at this month’s meeting demanding answers about her son Dareen Starks’ shooting in a a May 7 incident at the Hop-n-Skip convenience store.

Sophia Starks came to the police board meeting last month and alleged that police harassed her son, a shooting victim.

She was told to meet with the Riley County Police Department’s internal affairs administrators and file the complaints.

Because it is in the court system, officials told her the case could not be discussed publicly. 

Starks came back this time saying that still no one was giving her answers and that Riley County police would not allow her to have an attorney present while she was talking to them.

“You’ve been treating our entire family as if we were the perpetrators,” Starks said. “Why would I trust you to come in alone and speak with you concerning this matter? Why can’t I have an attorney with me to make an appointment to come in and speak with you concerning my son being shot here?”

RCPD Director Brad Schoen said that when people ask to have an attorney present, the procedure is to not have any more discussion because coming in with an attorney could indicate a lawsuit was intended to be filed or had been.

Speaking over Schoen, Starks said she also wanted to know why her son’s alleged shooter, Daeshawn Bryant, 18, was charged with aggravated battery rather than attempted murder and had been released from jail on a $50,000 bond.

Schoen explained that bailing out was procedural and that he could not explain the charges to her.

“I don’t know about the charges. The county attorney’s office charges that,” Schoen said.

After Starks accused Schoen of “giving her the runaround,” Schoen further said that there were two aspects to the situation.

“I’m telling you you need to speak to (the county attorneys) about the handling of the prosecution, and if you have complaints about how the officers conducted themselves during the course of the handling of the incident, then that’s what you deal with with us,” Schoen said.

After speaking with RCPD legal counsel, Mike Gillespie, while Starks continued to speak, Schoen said Starks could come in with an attorney and talk while RCPD had its legal counsel present as well.  Law board member Wynn Butler told Starks that she needed to articulate her complaints against the RCPD in writing.

In other business at the meeting, law board members approved Barry Wilkerson, who was not present, to be the hearing officer in a disciplinary appeal case for Officer Carla Swartz.

Schoen said after the meeting to reporters that the hearing would be public and set at a later date. He said he could not specify what the issue was about.

Members also approved a memorandum of agreement between Kansas State University police and RCPD regarding which department responds to what areas of town.

Several RCPD personnel and two civilians also were recognized at the meeting.

Capt. Joshua Kyle was given a certificate of promotion signifying that he will assume command of the patrol division.

Civilians Donald Taylor and Jayson Werner were each given a Life Saving Award for their efforts to rescue several people in a boating accident on May 18. Two of three people were saved in the accident at Tuttle Creek Lake.

Officer Adam Peterson and dispatcher Anna Sharp also were each given a Life Saving Award for their roles in helping people involved in an all-terrain vehicle accident on April 22.

Butler pointed out that the RCPD had several letters thanking officers and the department for their involvement and help recently.

Those thank-you letters included appreciation for officers helping at events, for returning a lost wallet, helping with vehicle trouble and help with a USD 383 summer program.

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