Illegal Search and Racial Criminalization
$2,642 raised
26% of $10k goal
17 contributors
2 Years running

In the early hours of the morning on Thursday, March 16, two of my close friends were driving from Denver to Kansas City for two highly competitive national debate tournaments after a week of extensive research and preparation. One of my friends, Taylor, had won the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament the previous year, and she was eager to work with Anthony because she believed he was ready to compete and win this year.

At 3am, they were pulled over in Geary County, Kansas for a broken taillight. The officer claimed to smell marijuana from the car and as a result my friends were subjected to an illegal search and seizure by two Geary County police officers. They were both arrested and spent the night in jail. Taylor had repeated several times that she did not consent to a search of her car and requested access to her phone to call a lawyer prior to the search. The arresting officer neglected to respond to her concerns about legal counsel and only stated that they were both being detained without answering any questions. In addition to this, the officer filed a no contact order between Anthony and Taylor. In order to get them both out of jail, mutual friends and I took out a loan. Now we are faced with paying that back, including interest and we are having to pay two separate lawyers.

Above all, Anthony and Taylor are young scholars and aspiring PhD students. I have seen them work tirelessly their entire life, especially in the last four years, to push through a bachelor’s degree and participate in the rigor of competing in national debate tournaments around the country. I am reaching out to everyone, tapping into different communities in hope of gathering the resources they need to fight and for justice to be served. Anthony and Taylor’s case is not special-- this kind of bigotry and abuse of power is all too familiar. Anthony and Taylor’s case proves that no matter how hard you work, you can be a subject of injustice.

To be able to fight this case, they need lawyers that specialize in unwarranted searches and racial criminalization. Anthony is still a student at the University of Missouri and Taylor is a recent graduate from the University of Vermont. What this means is that they are in no position of any kind to be able to financially support themselves through this process. Without having someone to represent them, they run the risk of losing this case against the state. The introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent, low-level crimes has raised the stakes for people dealing with the legal system across the US. With lawyers who have experience fighting these kinds of cases Anthony and Taylor are hopeful. Without proper representation they risk intense probation and years in prison.

Any amount or kind of support would mean the world to us. Support could also look like legal advice, especially if you know anything about Kansas law. Please feel free to email us with questions and if you donate we would be happy to keep you updated with where we stand.

Here are links to the work Taylor and Anthony have been doing within their debate communities:

Thank you so much for reading our story and we hope you are moved to support our cause!

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