Riley County Police Department Director Dennis Butler said at a protest and march Tuesday he would fire or arrest any of the department’s officers if they were proven to have battered a resident.
Two thousand people gathered and marched in central Manhattan to protest police brutality and the killings of black Americans at the hands of police. In remarks to the crowd, Butler also spoke about an alleged incident that happened early Monday morning and holding the local police force accountable.
A 27-year-old Manhattan man approached an RCPD officer around 10:45 a.m. Monday saying an unidentified officer had battered him outside his home on 15th and Humboldt around 3:30 a.m.
RCPD officials heard of the report within the hour and called the Kansas Bureau of Investigations shortly after to independently investigate the incident.
“For us to be effective and to have your confidence, you have to believe that when we go out and take an official action, that it’s justified,” Butler said. “That we did it because someone broke the law and we have sworn to uphold the law and protect you. But if we do it in a way that you find abusive, heavy-handed, disingenuous, or for all the wrong reasons, then the legitimacy that we have, in terms of you feeling that we’re a legitimate protector of you, evaporates, and it’s gone.”
Officials have not released the name of the officer who allegedly battered the Puerto Rican man, Butler said, because the person who made the report did not give a name or description of the officer.
“If we have a police officer who should not be working here, if we have a police officer who should be charged with a crime, then that’s what happens,” Butler said. “I don’t take any joy in it, but for you to believe in us, you have to know that we’ll do the right thing, even if isn’t what others might do.”
Butler said he is letting the KBI take the lead on any investigations related to the alleged incident and that he hopes the investigation is completed soon so the findings can be shared with the public.
The investigation is ongoing, and the KBI asks that anyone with related information contact it at 1-800-KS-CRIME or online at kbi.ks.gov/sar.