In September, the Kansas City Defender published a video of Bishop Tony Caldwell, a local community leader in Kansas City, Missouri, discussing numerous murdered and missing Black women, including one woman he said was missing after reportedly being abducted from an area on Prospect Avenue. The Kansas City Police Department, at the time, called the testimony of Caldwell and other concerned Black citizens “completely unfounded rumors.” Less than a month later, those same police officials appear to have egg all over their faces, because an investigation has begun after a Black woman reportedly escaped bondage and torture after being kept in a white man’s basement.
That woman was reportedly taken from Prospect Avenue.
From the Defender:
A bombshell multi-county investigation began last Friday when a 22-year old Black woman escaped bondage after being kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and held captive in the basement of an Excelsior Springs, Missouri man’s home. The man is identified as Timothy Haslett Jr., a white 39-year old male.
The woman was discovered around 8 a.m. last Friday, October 7th, when reports of a woman banging on doors and crying for help reportedly reached the police.
Ciara Tharp told The Excelsior Citizen that her grandmother provided the woman food and a blanket after bringing her inside Tharp’s home. The Kansas City Defender has been working collaboratively with The Excelsior Citizen, a local news outlet in Excelsior Springs, on this story.
“She made the comment about her friends. That they didn’t make it and that he had killed them,” Tharp said. “I’m really hoping that they find evidence about her friends. If anything, she can have closure about her friends. I just hope they can find everything they need to.”
According to the Clay County Prosecutor Probable Cause Statement, T.J. reported that “Timothy had kept her in a small room in the basement that he had built. He kept her restrained in handcuffs on her wrists and ankles.” In addition, Haslett “whipped her while she was restrained…there were injuries on her back that were consistent with this description.” Court documents further say, “she was able to get free when he left to take his child to school.”
The official court documents also read: “Upon the [police] officer’s arrival at the residence, they found T.J. She was wearing latex lingerie and had a metal collar around her neck with a padlock, and duct tape around her neck. T.J. advised that a man by the name of Timothy picked her up on Prospect in Kansas City at the beginning of September 2022.”
This isn’t the first time Kansas City police have been accused of ignoring the cases of missing Black women. But beyond that, the issue of Black women across the country going missing and/or being murdered and receiving little attention from mainstream media outlets and law enforcement is one that is ongoing.
In T.J’s case, it doesn’t help that KCPD still appears to be in denial about the department’s dismissiveness even after a victim who narrowly escaped with her life surfaced.
“We base our investigations on police incident reports of criminal activity,” the department told the Defender in a statement. “We do still maintain that there is no indication that what you guys reported was accurate and there was no indication that there was anything that supported that claim. We share what information we can publicly, many times from the scene, of incidents of violent crimes when there is a report or an investigation underway, there had and has not been anything that corresponded to your reports on social media and the web which is why we refuted that report and said that the claims were unfounded.”
So, basically, the department’s excuse for dismissing concerns from the community about missing Black women is generally: “If it’s not in an incident report, it couldn’t possibly be true. Oh, what? There’s an actual living victim? Nah, I still feel like you’re lying.” (I’m heavily paraphrasing, of course.)
Is it that hard for cops to just admit they might have been wrong about something?
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