WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Tuesday morning, the Wichita City Council approved a settlement in a lawsuit its facing for the police department targeting people of color on its gang list.

The federal lawsuit was filed in 2021 by Progeny, a local juvenile justice group. According to the lawsuit, WPD's gang list includes 5,200 people, 1,700 active members, 3,000 inactive, and 221 gang associates. The suit claims police target people on the list with frequent stops and searches over minor traffic violations. It also says there's a minimum bail of $50,000 if charged with a violent crime. 

It states black people make up 60% of Wichita's gang list, Latinx make up 25%, and white people make up 6%.

"This was something that I cared about before I was on council and it's an opportunity to reform it," said Wichita city council member Brandon Johnson when talking about why he was glad the city reached this settlement Tuesday.

He says the current state statute makes it too easy for someone to be listed as a gang member, and he thinks this is a step in the right direction. 

"We had some business leaders who were on there and were concerned about their records and being labeled gang members there. They haven't had that type of gang activity for decades," said Johnson when talking about how someone could be on the list even if they were no longer active, simply because they had a past or they knew people involved.

Under the settlement, the city will pay $550,000, as well as make some changes to its system. It will create a database where people can see if they're on the list. If they don't agree with being listed, they can appeal. Johnson says the goal of this is to make the process more transparent. It will also add a third party member who will oversee everything for an additional $75,000.

The council unanimously approved this settlement. Johnson says he doesn't know when exactly the data base will be set up, but he's hoping it will be running by this summer. 

As for the appeals, he says there will be some inner workings to figure out how to do this. Police say it will likely need to be done face to face, but the process hasn't been set up yet.

In a statement, Progeny says it is encouraged by the settlement adding, "No one should endure unjust categorization as a gang member, particularly when it disproportionately affects black and brown youth in Kansas."

The city says this agreement is intended to protect the constitutional rights of the citizens of Wichita.