© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kansas City Police feel heat after Eric Greitens posts campaign video showing ride-along

Carolina Hidalgo
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Kansas City Police said they did not give permission for U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens to post a video of his ride-along, which he later deleted. The department also clarified that it “is an apolitical organization and we do not promote or support political candidates.”

After former Gov. Eric Greitens used its facilities as a prop for a campaign video, the Kansas City Police Department this weekend tried to blunt criticism it is playing political favoritism.

On Friday afternoon, Greitens tweeted a 15-second video telling followers that he was getting ready for a ride-along with Kansas City Police Department officers.

“We have men and women out there who have our backs and they deserve to be supported,” Greitens said.

A second video, almost two minutes long, was tweeted later in the evening, showing Greitens at the North Patrol Division headquarters, climbing into a car with a Kansas City police logo and heading out for the patrol.

The Independent sent a request for comment on the first tweet to Kansas City Police Department representatives about an hour after it was posted at 3:42 p.m. Friday. The video, and the second one, was deleted at the request of the department, Capt. Leslie Foreman, a spokeswoman for the department, said in an email Saturday afternoon.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens’ tweet, since deleted, that included a video about a ride along with Kansas City police
Former Gov. Eric Greitens’ tweet, since deleted, that included a video about a ride along with Kansas City police

“Official approval for filming was not obtained from our department in this instance,” Foreman wrote. “As soon as we were made aware of the post, we requested the campaign remove the video and they complied.”

The department, Foreman wrote, “is an apolitical organization and we do not promote or support political candidates.”

The department welcomes citizen ride-alongs, she wrote, “but that should not be used to promote a political position.”

Greitens requested the ride-along, Foreman wrote. She had not responded to follow-up questions asking who in the department approved the request.

The department is run by a five-member Board of Police Commissioners, made up of Mayor Quinton Lucas and four members appointed by the governor. Two of the current members were appointed by Greitens while he was governor from January 2017 until June 2018 and two have been appointed by Gov. Mike Parson.

On Saturday afternoon, Lucas criticized Greitens for using the department as props and that the incident occurred at all.

“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 Kansas City Police Department logos, a squad car with lights turned on for the campaign video, and other imagery,” Lucas wrote.

The department is in the middle of a leadership transition. On Friday, Joseph Mabin was sworn in as interim chief in place of Chief Rick Smith, who retired after 34 years on the force and almost five as chief.

Smith was criticized last year for agreeing to participate in the Jackson County Republican Lincoln Days where Greitens and Attorney General Eric Schmitt were scheduled to speak.

Lucas thanked Mabin by name for making sure the video was deleted.

While Foreman’s statement, and a similar statement issued Sunday by the board said the department welcomes ride-alongs, Lucas spokeswoman Morgan Said told The Independent that Lucas has been refused on all of his requests.

“Mayor Lucas has requested to participate in KCPD ride-alongs several times since he was elected mayor and it has always been denied,” she said, noting he had ridden with patrol officers as they performed their duties in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, as well as in Overland Park and Kansas City, Kansas.

Dylan Johnson, campaign manager for Greitens, did not respond directly to questions submitted by The Independent, including whether the former governor believed he had permission to record his ride-along or whether the video will be used for other campaign purposes.

This story was originally published on the Missouri Independent.

Rudi Keller covers the state budget, energy and the legislature for the Missouri Independent.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.