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Charges Against Tow Company Owner Dropped After Kansas City Police Leader’s Threats Caught On Tape

Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon appears before the Board of Police Commissioners on Dec. 22.
City of Kansas City
Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon appears before the Board of Police Commissioners on Dec. 22.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker dismissed 31 counts against a towing company owner after audio surfaced of Brad Lemon, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, threatening criminal action if a family car wasn't immediately released.

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday dismissed 31 charges against a Kansas City tow truck company owner after he turned over a phone call of threats being made by the president of Kansas City's police union.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker dropped the charges against Allen T. Bloodworth, the owner of Private Party Impound, because Brad Lemon, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 99, appeared to threaten Bloodworth in the audio recording.

Lemon called Bloodworth on June 15, 2019, trying to get an impounded car owned by his family released without proper paperwork. Bloodworth refused, and Lemon reminded him that he was once investigated for felony property crimes.

“It’s game on,” Lemon says on the tape.

“The clear implication was that if defendant refused to give Mr. Lemon the car, Mr. Lemon would use his influence in the police department and union to bring law enforcement action against defendant,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker in a notice of dismissal filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The charges were the result of an investigation launched in February 2017 into suspicious towing practices by Bloodworth’s company.

But Lemon’s action “undermines the integrity of the investigation, exposes all officers in this case to accusations of substantial partiality, and negatively impacts the credibility of the state’s evidence and the testimony of its primary witnesses,” the notice of dismissal read.

Neither Lemon nor Bloodworth immediately returned phone calls seeking comment.

Lemon’s actions leaves the case against Bloodworth in limbo. In a September 2019 KCPD press release, the case was heralded as the result of a two-year investigation that revealed “multiple counts of forgery in a scheme to steal hundreds of vehicles by illegally towing them from private property.”

The investigation found that Bloodworth allegedly forged the signatures of property owners of apartment complexes where he was accused of towing cars illegally. Bloodworth needed the signatures of the property managers for permission to tow the car.

“Detectives said Bloodworth has been engaged in deceptive and illegal business practices for years through his Private Party Impound business,” the KCPD release said.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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