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A whistleblower claimed KCPD withheld evidence in criminal cases. The Police Board denies it

The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners during a January meeting.
Peggy Lowe
KCUR 89.3
The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners during a January meeting.

A former KCPD attorney said the department refused to give evidence to prosecutors and denied public records request, but the Board of Police Commissioners said he had “incomplete facts.”

The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners announced Monday that a former Kansas City Police Department employee’s claims that the department unethically funneled criminal evidence away from prosecutors and denied public records requests was “inaccurate.”

The claims by Ryan McCarty, a former KCPD associate general counsel, were also in violation of his “ongoing ethical and other duties,” the board said in a prepared statement that didn’t name McCarty.

“The allegations, which were written on falsified letterhead, are based on incomplete facts and misconstrue the KCPD’s practices,” the board statement said.

The bombshell accusations last December were called "troubling" by Mayor Quinton Lucas, who called for an investigation. His representative didn't return a message seeking comment on Monday.

The board's statement said an investigation had been completed. KCPD’s policies and practices meet the obligations of giving information to prosecutors, the statement said.

“While it is an unusual step, the KCPD issues this statement about this issue to provide transparency to stakeholders, including the judiciary and others who are involved with the criminal justice system,” the statement said.

McCarty’s attorney, Tom Porto, said the board’s statement was the second time they tried to paint his client in a bad light. The board has already reported McCarty to the Missouri Bar’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel and is seeking a determination on whether his behavior was unethical, Porto said.

“I believe this press release is a further attempt to retaliate against my client, and to unduly influence the investigative process of the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel,” Porto said in a statement. “My client and I choose to litigate our employment lawsuit in a court of law — not the press, as is commonly done.”

McCarty has also filed a lawsuit against KCPD alleging that he was fired unjustly and that the department is further retaliating against him because of his whistleblower complaints.

McCarty’s eight-page letter, along with hundreds of pages of documentation, was sent to a number of city and county officials, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and Missouri governor Mike Parson. He had been working for just six months as an associate general counsel. His report took aim at Holly Dodge, the department’s chief lawyer.

Dodge’s “self-concocted, haphazard methodology of filtering and funneling” evidence was “borderline unethical and could be deleterious to the credibility of the department,” McCarty wrote, often citing Biblical scripture. He also claimed Dodge went about “consistently, systematically, and unlawfully closing (public) records that should be open, thereby denying the public access to what it is entitled under the law.”

Dodge was hired in August 2021 and left the department in March.

McCarty also pointed to then-Interim Chief Joseph Mabin, who he said allowed Dodge to continue with the alleged behavior.

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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