KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Police Department wants to see if anyone broke the law when Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, went on a ride-along last week with an officer.
Greitens posted a video of the event on social media, which included statements about Kansas City “defunding” police, a politically controversial phrase. And Greitens claimed that Mayor Quinton Lucas could not get a ride-along with police, which the mayor said is not true.
The police board asked Greitens to take the video down, and his campaign complied.
KCPD spokesman Jake Becchina confirmed the department is conducting a criminal investigation related to the incident. Greitens is not the subject of the investigation; the investigation is in regard to a department member only at this time.
Former Jackson County prosecutor Phil LeVota said Missouri law prohibits Kansas City police, while on duty or in uniform, from using their authority or influence to solicit support for any election or any nomination for political office.
“The officer’s body camera is very important in this investigation to see what was said,” LeVota told FOX4. “The board is going to look to see if the officer has violated the law of supporting a candidate using department property or while on duty. Just off-the-cuff casual things, saying this guy is running for Senate looks to the public like that’s an endorsement by the Kansas City Police Department of a candidate. That’s what the law prohibits. That body camera footage is going to be important.”
The law says a violation could result in termination of a police officer. The officer could also be referred to the prosecutor for criminal charges, with punishment of up to six months behind bars and a $500 fine.
Kansas City police are free to be involved in politics while off duty, so long as they don’t use any department property. They can’t even place a campaign sticker on any police department property.
LeVota said the police board also should investigate North Patrol commander Maj. Joel Lovelady, who approved the ride-along, to make sure he didn’t know the ride-along would be used to solicit support for Greitens’ senate campaign.
The Missouri chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Attorney General Eric Schmitt in the U.S. Senate race.
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