State Rep. Shamed Dogan announced today that his Special Committee on Criminal Justice will hold public hearings in July and August to thoroughly examine the issues of racial profiling and civil asset forfeiture. Dogan, who chairs the committee, said the committee will hold public hearings July 24 in St. Louis and August 1 in Kansas City.
Dogan said he plans for the hearings to serve as a forum for all stakeholders involved in these issues to provide their honest opinions. He hopes to receive input from law enforcement, community leaders, prosecutors, and local elected officials, as well as the public. He is encouraging all interested parties to attend so they can help the committee develop effective legislative reforms.
Dogan said the committee will focus its fact finding efforts to examine the 2018 Vehicle Stops Report showing the largest racial disparity in vehicle stops in Missouri history — in which African-Americans were shown to be 91% more likely to be stopped than whites — as well as the report from Auditor Galloway showing that $9.1 million in cash and property was seized through the use of civil asset forfeiture in 2018 compared to $7.1 million in 2017, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Timbs v. Indiana restricting the use of forfeiture.
“The numbers released by Attorney General Schmitt and Auditor Galloway are concerning and a true call to action for our committee and our legislature. It’s imperative that we seek solutions to help better protect Missourians’ 4th Amendment rights while also upholding law enforcement’s responsibility to protect public safety,” said Dogan, R-Ballwin.
The first public hearing in St. Louis will take place Wednesday, July 24 at 9 a.m. at the St. Louis County Council chambers 41 S. Central Ave., Clayton, MO 63105.
The Kansas City hearing will take place Thursday, Aug. 1 at 9 a.m. at the Robert J. Mohart Multi-Purpose Center, 3200 Wayne Ave., Kansas City, MO 64109.
The Special Committee on Criminal Justice was formed during the 2019 legislative session to explore ways to reform Missouri’s criminal justice system. Dogan was selected by House Speaker Elijah Haahr to chair the committee for the 100th General Assembly. The committee produced significant accomplishments during the regular session including legislation to give judges greater discretion when sentencing non-violent offenders, eliminate debtors’ prisons, and to expand the list of crimes that can be expunged from a person’s record.