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Bruce Uhler, Warrensburg, Missouri City Council

The statement at the end of the public comment portion of the agenda at last night’s Warrensburg City Council meeting – read by Bruce Uhler, on behalf of the city council:


The City recognizes and appreciates the citizen input received over the last several weeks related to a drag show planned for June 3, 2023. While the organizers have announced cancellation of the “all ages” portion of this event, these discussions still merit response. This event was scheduled to take place at a privately owned property in town, and as such, the City must operate for any similar future events within its constitutional and statutory boundaries related to private conduct on private property.

At the same time, the City also takes seriously the protection of children, and recognizes and enforces state law related to private activity that exposes children to illegal content or actions. Just as the City enforces state laws related to other crimes, the City will continue to uphold its duty to enforce state laws related to children. Crimes that involve child victims are serious, and should be handled under the state statutes that set those rules. City ordinance violations carry fairly minimal penalties when compared to state law. Nuisance violations, which some have suggested the City apply here for example, have a statutory cap of a $200 fine, inclusive of all court costs, for a first violation. Jail or imprisonment is not an option available for this offense in municipal court. State law on providing minors pornographic or obscene material, however, can result in imprisonment, and fines reaching the thousands of dollars. Enacting city ordinances to address serious state crimes does not deter those crimes, it actually makes the consequences for their commission less severe. The City stands behind state law, with its proportionate penalty provisions for all crimes involving child victims.

A suspicion that a private person or entity might commit a violation of law, however, does not empower the City to shut down private property or private assemblies in advance. The City must respond to violations of law as they happen, when the facts provide probable cause to believe that a crime has taken place. This situation is no different. The City will investigate any allegation of criminal activity involving children, and will, when probable cause exists, forward the results of those investigations to the County’s elected prosecutor to file charges.

The police power entrusted to the City by the State of Missouri is an awesome responsibility, and must be exercised with care, and without favortism to any person, group or point of view. Passionate viewpoints have been expressed on many sides of the public comments surrounding this upcoming event. Passionate viewpoints alone, however, cannot determine arrest and charging decisions. Any law enforcement action of the City or its officers must be based upon the facts as they occur and the law as it exists. It is the charge of the City and its officials to honor the rights of all citizens, and at the same time to see that all citizens live up to their duties under law as well. That obligation will be honored by the City without fear or favor. But there is no crystal ball. We will review the facts as they happen. One of our most famous founders, Alexander Hamilton, put it best when he said, “There can be no truer principle than this– that every individual of the community at large has an equal right to the protection of government.”

Whether that protection be for a child, for a parent, for a concerned citizen, or for a performer, the City will stand steadfast in its obligations to ALL parties, and demand that those same parties do the same with respect to their own duties to comply with the law.



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