Should Kansas City, Mo., police officers be allowed to come into Kansas City, Kan., and seize property from a business without a warrant?
That is a question being considered in a lawsuit currently in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.
A local businessman alleged in court that Kansas City, Mo., police officers had violated his constitutional rights in May 2011, when they came onto his property and seized a used lawnmower. The lawsuit also alleged that two Kansas City, Kan., police officers assisted the Missouri officers.
The case involved a used lawnmower that the business had purchased from an individual for $1,300, according to court documents. The business then had advertised it for sale on Craigslist. The man who sold it to the business had signed a paper stating it was not stolen when it was sold.
The businessman alleged in the lawsuit that he asked to see the Missouri officers’ warrant, and his request was ignored. He was told that he was under arrest and a search was conducted of the property, according to the businessman’s lawsuit. The businessman alleged he was not read his rights by the Missouri officers.
The businessman also alleged that two Kansas City, Kan., police officers arrived after several minutes. The Kansas City, Kan., officers put him in handcuffs and told him he was under arrest, but the businessman alleged that he was not read his Miranda rights. The property was taken to a Unified Government police property room.
The businessman also alleged that despite being told that there would be a hearing on the ownership of the property, it was released to someone in Missouri without any due process hearing. The Missouri officers had alleged that the lawnmower was stolen property. Although there were similarities in the lawnmower’s appearance, the businessman claimed that the Missouri person did not have its serial number and there was not enough information to identify it before it was seized.
The businessman filed suit, with several allegations against the Missouri officers and against the Unified Government.
The federal court dismissed some of the lawsuit’s allegations against the UG on Feb. 7, but it allowed a count to proceed on deprivation of property without due process.
The court also let some of the allegations against the Missouri officers proceed, specifically, those involving alleged illegal search and alleged false arrest. A conspiracy claim was dismissed.