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KCKPD will review 155 Roger Golubski cases. Lawyers say someone else should do it

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The Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department promised Monday to review 155 cases that were investigated by then-detective Roger Golubski, who faces federal charges for allegedly using his position to rape women and protect sex traffickers.

But outside groups, including the Midwest Innocence Project, criticized the proposed plan, saying it “offers no hope for accountability” and should instead be conducted by independent federal officials.

At a news conference, Police Chief Karl Oakman said he was putting together a team of detectives and commanders to review the 155 investigations Golubski was involved in when he was a detective from 1988 to 2002.

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The review, which could take 18 to 24 months, will look at if policy was followed in those cases and if investigative techniques used were ethical and legal, among other things, Oakman said. The FBI and the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office, which is collaborating with KCKPD, will be contacted for further investigation if problems are found, he said.

Oakman was joined by Mayor Tyrone Garner and District Attorney Mark Dupree, who collectively vowed to answer the community’s cries and questions about the disgraced cop’s tenure. Days earlier, Dupree got commitment from the county for $1.7 million to digitize decades of files in an effort to examine cases touched by Golubski when he worked at KCKPD from 1975 to 2010, including as a captain, and then at Edwardsville, where he was a detective until 2016.

County officials will hold a special session at 4 p.m. Tuesday to determine where that funding will come from, Dupree said.

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Mark Dupree, Wyandotte County district attorney, left, spoke at a Monday afternoon news conference about the opening of an investigation into cases handled by former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Roger Golubski. Karl Oakman, Kansas City, Kansas, police chief, is at right.

Mark Dupree, Wyandotte County district attorney, left, spoke at a Monday afternoon news conference about the opening of an investigation into cases handled by former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Roger Golubski. Karl Oakman, Kansas City, Kansas, police chief, is at right.

Golubski, who is white, was indicted in September on civil rights charges for allegedly sexually assaulting and kidnapping two Black women, including one who was a minor, from 1998 to 2002.

The former cop was then among four men indicted this month in a separate case that alleges he helped run a sex trafficking operation in the 1990s out of apartments run by convicted drug trafficker Cecil Brooks.

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Oakman on Monday called the allegations against Golubski “deplorable,” saying he caused pain to members of the KCK community and “shame to the badge.”

“Based on these charges, Goubski’s tenure in law enforcement was a moral, ethical and legal failure,” Oakman told reporters.

But Oakman said Golubski’s alleged conduct is not representative of officers today, adding that he will not tolerate corruption. He stressed that he has implemented changes since becoming chief last year, which included creating a cold case squad to examine unsolved homicides, particularly “those involving female victims.”

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Activists who have long called for a broader U.S. Department of Justice investigation of KCK police said the review should be done by an outside agency.

“As a department that shielded and protected Golubski, KCKPD should be nowhere near the review of his cases,” MORE2, an interfaith social justice organization, said in a statement.

Attorneys for Lamonte McIntyre, who spent 23 years in prison for killings he did not commit, have long claimed that Golubski framed him, raising questions about other cases he investigated in which prisoners maintain they are innocent. Those lawyers also alleged numerous homicides were “inadequately investigated” or not prosecuted because Golubski was shielding drug dealers.

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On Monday, attorneys at the Midwest Innocence Project and the law firm Morgan Pilate, which represented McIntyre, said the review of Golubski’s cases should ideally be conducted by the Justice Department as part of a “pattern-and-practice” investigation. They said KCKPD promoted Golubski as he “relentlessly and intentionally” violated residents’ constitutional and human rights.

“As a direct result of Golubski’s actions, numerous individuals were wrongly convicted of crimes they had nothing to do with, grieving families who lost loved ones suffered without justice, and violent criminals were left free to prey on others,” Tricia Rojo Bushnell, director of the Midwest Innocence Project, and lawyers Cheryl Pilate and Lindsay Runnels of Morgan Pilate said in a statement. “The decades of wrongdoing not only have a continued impact on the present, the wrongdoing itself continues.”

Former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Roger Golubski testified Oct. 24, 2022, at the Wyandotte County courthouse during a hearing for two prisoners who claim they are innocent of a 1997 murder.

Former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Roger Golubski testified Oct. 24, 2022, at the Wyandotte County courthouse during a hearing for two prisoners who claim they are innocent of a 1997 murder.

The lawyers noted the Unified Government of Wyandotte County argued in court this year that McIntyre’s mother “should not be believed” when she said she was sexually assaulted by Golubski in the 1980s at police headquarters.

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“These are not the actions of a system ready to correct and acknowledge the deep harms it has caused,” the lawyers said. “We cannot and will not accept a review that happens behind the closed doors at police headquarters.”

Dania Diaz, managing director of Team ROC — an arm of rapper Jay-Z’s entertainment company, which has been involved in KCK and last year facilitated donations for the Midwest Innocence Project — called it “imperative” that DOJ launch a pattern-or-practice investigation, which is used to examine unconstitutional policing practices.

“Given the widespread and longstanding allegations of corruption within the KCKPD, the notion that local law enforcement can responsibly investigate itself is delusional,” Diaz said.

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Asked about the criticism, Oakman said he has never met Golubski and that the former detective “doesn’t control anything” at KCKPD. He said if the department’s review finds any current day corruption, he will “absolutely” support a DOJ probe.

The FBI is not investigating any current KCK officers, Oakman added.

“This isn’t your great-grandfather’s KCK police department,” he said.

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