Previously reluctant KC assault victims agree to prosecute

Six previously reluctant Kansas City assault victims now are willing to press charges after being contacted by summer employees of the Police Department.

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté assigned the employees to the outreach effort after a Kansas City Star series highlighted how seldom victims of nonfatal shootings help police pursue their shooters.

The Star’s series, “Many Bullets, Little Blame,” found that victims in 60 percent of last year’s nonfatal shootings did not help police. Detectives then shut down the cases, which were not prosecuted. Just 10 percent of shootings last year garnered criminal charges, The Star found.

On Thursday, in a posting on his blog, Forté said the two employees contacted more than 200 victims who initially did not cooperate with police.

Six victims changed their minds as a result, according to Forté. Detectives are following up with them to present cases to prosecutors.

“As pointed out in a Kansas City Star article, victims of aggravated assault who choose not to prosecute those who hurt them often perpetuate the cycle of violence through retaliation, and we want to stop that,” Forté said in the blog post.

The employees also gave victims information about available social services, regardless of whether the victims wanted to prosecute their attackers.

The outreach program will continue, Forté said.