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Charges Against Two Kansas City Policemen Upgraded To Felonies In Beating Of Transgender Woman

Two Kansas City Police officers have been indicted for felony excessive force in the beating of Breona Hill in May 2019.
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Two Kansas City Police officers have been indicted for felony excessive force in the beating of Breona Hill in May 2019.

Excessive force charges against two Kansas City police officers were upgraded Friday to felonies in the severe beating last year of a Black transgender woman.

Matthew Brummett, 37, and Charles Prichard, 47, were indicted in May on misdemeanor charges in the beating of Breona “Briya” Hill, a 30-year-old Kansas City woman. A videotape from the arrest in May 2019 showed them slamming her face against a concrete sidewalk, kneeing her in the face, torso and ribs, and forcing her arms over her head while handcuffed.

After they were charged in May, two more unnamed witnesses stepped forward, both law enforcement trainers, according to the superseding indictment released by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office. One witness was a former lead defensive tactics instructor at the Regional Police Academy and the other was a former defensive tactics instructor.

After seeing the videotape in media reports, both witnesses said there were issues with what the officers did and their actions were not justified, the prosecutor’s office said. Brummett and Prichard subsequently underwent retraining.

The officers were called to a beauty supply store in May 2019 when the owner asked for Hill to be removed. Brummett and Prichard said Hill resisted arrest. Hill was killed in an unrelated October 2019 shooting in a home near 43rd Street and Hardesty Avenue. A man has been charged in her death.

The superseding indictment says the prosecutor’s office also received photos of Hill after she left the hospital, her eyes swollen and injuries across her face. Days after Hill’s arrest, a prosecutor who met with her said she was still injured and winced when she moved.

If convicted, Brummett and Prichard could face between two and four years in prison.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Peggy Lowe joined Harvest Public Media in 2011, returning to the Midwest after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she was at The Orange County Register, where she was a multimedia producer and writer. In Denver she worked for The Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Columbine. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-09. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City. Based at KCUR, Peggy is the analyst for The Harvest Network and often reports for Harvest Public Media.