A bench has been dedicated in memory of Barney Jasper, the first black Kansas City police officer to die in the line of duty.
The bench is at the Kansas City Police Department’s Trail of Heroes west of the Shoal Creek Patrol Division at 6801 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road.
Jasper was shot Jan. 21, 1924, by an unknown assailant near 518 Forest Ave. in Kansas City.
The day after the shooting, the Kansas City Post reported, “Police believe Jasper was mistaken by his assailants for Louis Center, also a Negro patrolman, whose life had been threatened by bootleggers in the vicinity. … (Both Jasper’s and Center’s) beat was in the heart of the bootlegging district of Little Italy, according to police.”
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Jasper died on Jan. 22, 1924. He was 31 years old and left a wife, Henrietta. He is buried at Highland Cemetery.
The Trail of Heroes honors fallen officers and other police department members. Since the Kansas City Police Department was created in 1874, 119 officers have been killed in the line of duty; five of them were black.