City government

Eric Greitens KCPD rides video deleted after criticism


Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens

On Friday, U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens posted — then deleted — a social media video featuring a ride with Kansas City police that was quickly criticized as inappropriately politicizing the department.

The former governor’s campaign did not get official approval for the filming, KCPD spokeswoman Capt. Leslie Foreman said Saturday. The department asked the campaign to remove his post, Foreman said, and he complied.

The video at one point showed an image of a KCPD vehicle. In a tweet, Greitens said: “Tonight I ride with @kcpolice”, according to screenshots posted by Scott ChartonMissouri-based consultant and former Associated Press reporter.

“I share the disappointment of many that the former governor of this state produced a campaign video, which included his Senate campaign logo on the video and used the logos of the Kansas City Police Department, a police cruiser with lights on for campaign video, and other footage,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a tweet.

It’s unclear exactly when the posts were taken down, but they began to come to the attention of Charton and others shortly after they were posted on Friday night. The ride came on a day when attention was already focused on KCPD as Joe Mabin was sworn in as acting chief, replacing Rick Smith.

It also came hours after the Fraternal Order of Police in Missouri endorsed Attorney General Eric Schmitt, one of Greitens’ opponents in the Republican Senate race. The KCPD and Greitens campaign did not respond to questions on Saturday about when the ride is scheduled.

“The Kansas City Police Department in Missouri is a non-partisan organization and we do not promote or support political candidates,” Foreman said in an email. “All citizens are welcome and encouraged to take a tour, but this should not be used to promote any political position.”

Greitens resigned as governor in 2018 amid multiple scandals, including allegations he sexually assaulted and blackmailed his former hairstylist. He attempted a political comeback, but his ex-wife filed an affidavit in March alleging he was abusive towards her and their children, leading to calls for him to drop out of the race. Greitens denied the allegations.

Greitens’ campaign responded to a request for comment on Lucas’ tweet, but did not respond to further questions from The Star about the ride.

“While Governor Greitens was with our law enforcement officers to see firsthand the challenges they face every day, Quinton Lucas was working hard to fund them,” said Dylan Johnson, campaign manager for Greitens. , in a press release.

In the past, Lucas has lobbied unsuccessfully for the city council to have more control over police funding — a different concept from cutting overall police spending.

Unlike most large police departments, the KCPD is not governed by the city council but by a board of five commissioners appointed almost entirely by the governor. The mayor also holds a seat.

Two of the current commissioners – chairman Mark Tolbert and Don Wagner – were appointed by Greitens.

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Jonathan Shorman is the Kansas City Star’s senior political reporter, covering Kansas and Missouri politics and government. He previously covered the Kansas Statehouse for The Star and Wichita Eagle. He holds a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.