Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rachel Riley's 23rd Street PAC to prosecutors: 'We want justice!'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge Rachel Riley ain't gonna take it no more
  • Rachel Riley ain't gonna take it no more

You can hear them chanting from blocks away: "We want justice! Prosecutors out! Aren't you fed up? We want closure! Ain't gonna take it no more."

Rachel Riley, head of an East Side political action committee called the 23rd Street Nonviolent Marchers, is leading a protest until 4 p.m. today on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse. She seeks closure in her son Larry's murder. No one has ever been charged in the shooting, which took place in front of Truman Medical Center on October 30, 2003. Riley's not angry with the Kansas City Police Department, she says, but she's fed up with the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office. 



"The police, to this day and as of a couple days ago, still tell me, 'We believe we have a strong case,' but the prosecuting attorneys' office will not touch it," Riley says.

Riley's courthouse protests have become somewhat of a tradition. In May 2009, she held a three-day camp-out on the courthouse lawn.

click to enlarge protester200.jpg
Today, Riley led the chant, echoed by her companions -- mostly family and friends, holding homemade signs. Many of the people coming and going from the downtown courthouse simply went about their business. A few paused to ask what the commotion was about.

Had the prosecutors been open with her, Riley says, she would have found out that Larry's case was considered closed by prosecutors in 2004. But it wasn't until she obtained the investigative file of the crime from the KCPD in 2007 that she was able to read about two men who were initially identified as suspects in the case. One is in prison now for a different homicide, Riley says, and the other is free.

Deputy Jackson County Prosecutor Kevin Harrell says that he's

been in frequent contact with Riley ever since 2007, and other

prosecutors were in contact with her in the years prior. "I've told

her that we did not have good, credible evidence to go forward with,"

Harrell says. "She didn't agree with that assessment. I understand that.

She's grieving and she's frustrated with the system. But we are not on

opposite sides of the fence with Ms. Riley. We are frustrated, too, when

we don't have the cooperation or the evidence we need to carry a case

like this forward."  
Sadly, there are lots of cases like Larry Riley's. Most uncharged homicides remain that way for the same reasons: lack of witnesses, lack of evidence. Prosecutors can't make those ingredients magically appear for a grieving mother, but maybe they could be a bit more communicative.

Nothing in the file indicated why the case was closed, Riley says, and police told her that only the prosecutors could provide the explanation. Riley says she has asked, and is still waiting for an answer.

So the chant continues. "We want justice! Prosecutors out!"

A young man jogged by, and over his shoulder he hollered, "Get 'em all out."

Tags: , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Nadia Pflaum

Most Popular Stories

Slideshows

All contents ©2015 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation