KCPD opens criminal investigation after Greitens overlap

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In this file photo, then-Missouri elected official Eric Greitens (right) trains with members of the Kansas City Police Department’s Tactical Response Team. Greitens — a former Navy SEAL — performed drills with a group of police officers and a separate group of trainees.

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The Kansas City Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation into a Friday ride involving U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens.

Police officials said the investigation involves a member of the department but did not identify the subject of the investigation. The member was placed on paid suspension.

During the ride, Greitens posted a video to social media featuring the ride that originated from the department’s North Patrol Division in Platte County. He then deleted the post.

Rides, even by important figures, are not unusual. But Greitens’ trip was immediately condemned, with the post’s critics saying he inappropriately politicized the department.

The video at one point showed an image of a KCPD vehicle. In a tweet, Greitens said: “Tonight I’m riding with @kcpolice”, according to screenshots job on line.

Police asked the campaign to remove the video. In a statement, KCPD said official permission to film during the ride was not obtained in advance.

sergeant. Jacob Becchina, a police spokesman, said in an email late Tuesday that the criminal investigation was related to political activity that officers are prohibited from engaging in.

Missouri Chapter 84 statutes includes provisions dealing with the Kansas City Police. Among these is the prohibition on officers or other employees of the department from being connected with political work on behalf of candidates “while on duty or while wearing the official uniform of the department.”

The Greitens campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

The drive came hours after the Fraternal Order of Police in Missouri endorsed Attorney General Eric Schmitt, one of Greitens’ Republican opponents in the Senate race. Greitens, a former Navy Seal, campaigned as an ally of law enforcement.

Greitens tried to use his Senate campaign to engineer a political comeback after stepping down as governor in 2018 amid multiple scandals, including allegations he sexually assaulted and blackmailed his former hairstylist.

More recently, Greitens’ ex-wife alleged in an affidavit that he was abusive towards her and their children. He denied the allegations.

This story was originally published April 26, 2022 10:10 p.m.

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Glenn E. Rice is an investigative journalist who focuses on law enforcement and the justice system. He’s been with The Star since 1988. In 2020, Rice helped investigate discrimination and structural racism that went unchecked for decades within the Kansas City Fire Department.

Profile photo of Jonathan Shorman

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.

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