News Violence

In 7-to-3 Vote, Topeka City Council Fails to Reverse Decision Releasing Domestic Abusers From Jail to “Save Money”

Kari Ann Rinker

The Topeka City Council tonight failed to repeal an ordinance allowing domestic abusers to leave jail to save money, leaving the women of Topeka with no recourse against abuse within the city. If they wish for justice to be served, women will have to be geographically located outside of the city limits... and even that is no guarantee of protection.

Topeka, KSDomestic violence abusers will continue to roam free within Topeka city limits, now making Topeka, Kansas the homophobia and domestic violence capitol of the world.  A vote by the Topeka City Council tonight to repeal their municipal city ordinance allowing domestic abusers to leave jail to save money–approved 7 to 3–leaves the women of Topeka with no recourse against abuse within the city.  If they wish for justice to be served, they will have to be geographically located outside of the city limits, within Shawnee County. 

Mayor Bunten, who has made numerous promises of working toward a compromise, admitted tonight that he hasn’t even talked to Shawnee County DA Chad Taylor in ten days. Ten days of batterers being let free to repeat their abuse. 

Mayor Bunten also stated that the Shawnee County DA would be forced into the position of prosecuting domestic violence crimes with the repeal of the city ordinance.  That statement was incorrect, in fact, the DA’s prosecutorial power is discretionary.  This leaves the women of Topeka without any recourse against their abusers. 

The only thing accomplished by tonight’s action was to appoint the city manager to the task of negotiating with a County Commission that has repeatedly stated that they have “no control” over the DA Chad Taylor.  These negotiations are being entered into with absolutely no time line. If the recent histories of both parties are any indication, the women of Topeka could be waiting a very long time for any resolution.  While the City Council may believe that they have shirked their responsibilities and can now avoid the discussion, the citizens of Topeka should continue to hold them accountable for their unwillingness to prosecute dangerous criminals within their community.

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Kansas NOW was told that as of this morning the City Council had received 3,000 emails, almost causing a crash to their system.  I challenge those infuriated by the action of this Council to send more emails, make more calls and hold them accountable for this action of dangerous consequence.  

Kansas NOW thanks council members Denise Everhart, Larry Wolgast and Richard Harmon for standing up for the women of Topeka and not letting petty political fights interrupt the pursuit of justice. 

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