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It appears horror has once again gripped Excelsior Springs, Missouri, a community in the suburbs of Kansas City where a local church leaders claimed four Black women have been murdered and three more are missing.
One of the more influential voices in the city, Bishop Tony Caldwell of Eternal Life Church, demanded to know why more wasn’t being done by authorities in a viral video that was shared widely. Fortunately, with the help of The Kansas City Defender, the city’s largest Black newspaper, news of the potential serial killer spread.
Nonetheless, despite credible evidence and repeatedly being alerted of the situation several times, police officials adamantly denied the idea of a serial killer. On Sept. 26th, a Kansas City Police Department spokesperson issued a statement to local media outlets saying, spokesperson Donna Drake, which read, “We want to make the public aware that this claim is completely unfounded. There is no basis to support this rumor.”
Approximately two weeks later, a 39-year-old white man, identified as Timothy Haslett Jr., was taken into custody facing rape, kidnapping, and sexual assault charges. An investigation is currently underway.
The acts of torture and abuse that the victim said she and fellow captors endured at the hands of this monster are too graphic and disturbing to print here. However, one crucial revelation from the initial stages of the investigation is that Haslett Jr. believes that there was/is a race war on the horizon and engaged in acerbic and vehemently racist comments about Black people.
The Kansas City Defender uncovered disturbing social media posts and comments made by the kidnapper and sexual predator.
“The race war started a long time ago, wake up ya dumb b—-,” He wrote in one violent post. In another post, he emphatically professed his belief that Breonna Taylor deserved to die. “I honestly cannot remember once in my life hearing a Black person take responsibility for anything except looting and rioting,” he also wrote.
In another post he went into detail about his beliefs that Black people are lesser forms of humans than white people, writing, “When they decide to act like my equal, then we can discuss their equality.” Mind you, this is rhetoric coming from an alleged kidnapper, rapist, and racist.
When asked again if their opinion had changed since the revelation of new evidence. Kansas City Police Officials responded:
“We base our investigations on police incident reports of criminal activity. 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.”
Please! I guess it was too much for them to admit that they screwed up royally. The community was forced to do the work that police were hired and supposedly trained to do. Local authorities did nothing to stop the horrific violence inflicted upon these women. Then, when confronted with the reality of the allegations, they refuse to acknowledge any level of contrition. On the contrary, police had the audacity to levy condescending and dismissive responses.
Quite frankly, as a Black person, such arrogance from law enforcement is infuriating and insulting.
The response from police demonstrates how Black lives are not valued or taken seriously. How often have we seen examples where Black communities reach out for help and are met with indifference, skepticism, and even hostility?
Do any of us honestly believe that if there were several white women (hell, just one) missing from one community, that there would have been such a level of indifference from law enforcement? The answer is hell no!
This story is still ongoing. That being said, this community did not deserve such shabby treatment. These women deserve better. The members of this community deserve better. Black people deserve better.
Copyright 2022 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate
Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.