For Immediate Release
Aug. 21, 2020
A Jackson County grand jury has indicted a Kansas City police sergeant for Assault 3rd degree, a felony, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced today at a Kansas City press conference.
Sgt. Matthew T. Neal, according to the indictment, caused physical injury to the victim, a juvenile, by kneeing him on the back of the head and neck and forcing the victim’s head to the pavement. The victim repeatedly stated “I can’t breathe” in a plea for help.
The victim’s injuries included broken teeth and gash on his head, Baker stated.
Neal faces one count of Assault 3rd Degree, a Class E felony under Missouri law.*
An affidavit signed by the grand jury foreperson states that the jurors reviewed evidence in this case on multiple occasions, starting June 12. The use of excessive force occurred on on Nov. 14. 2019, in the parking lot of Go Chicken Go, near 51st and Troost Avenue in Kansas City. It began about 10:40 pm when a Kansas City police officer, suspicious of the victim and another male who were at 7-Eleven near 89th and Wornall, attempted to stop them as they drove away from that location.
The driver fled until the vehicle was stopped in the parking lot of Go Chicken Go. The driver and the passenger, the victim who was too young to drive, exited the car, got on their knees, with hands above their heads. Neal was one of the first officers on the scene. He took charge of taking the juvenile victim into custody. The victim did not struggle or pull away. He was handcuffed and lying on the ground on his stomach. He did not have a weapon. Neal, with another officer, began to lift the victim, then Neal forced his knee on to the back of the head of the victim. This forced his face into the cement and injured him. Neal’s knee and body weight remained on the back of the victim’s head and his face was pinned to the pavement. The victim repeatedly stated, “I can’t breathe” in a plea for help.
Once he was brought to his feet, the victim’s injuries were clear and he was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where he received treatment, according to the affidavit.
Baker stated she was disturbed that this incident occurred in November, but it wasn’t until spring this year that her office learned of it. Baker called for an independent system to be established so all excessive force incidents are reported and reviewed. In the meantime, she encouraged citizens to report incidents of force or misconduct to the prosecutor’s office through its website: www.jacksoncountyprosecutor.com.
Baker added that she would not name the victim because he is a juvenile.
"We know the play book. We’ve seen it before. The playbook is to make the Victim appear to be a bad person. Someone who deserved this rough treatment." Baker stated.
"I’d like to remind everyone that our victim was a 15-year-old passenger who was cooperative with police. He ended up in Children’s Mercy Hospital with a gash on his head and broken front teeth. I hope all involved in this case and our community will rally around this victim and support him."
The officer has been summoned to appear in court on a future date yet identified.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communication
Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office
Jean Peters Baker, Prosecutor
Work : (816) 881-3812
Mobile: (816) 674-3954
*Charges are only accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until the defendant is either found guilty or has pleaded.