KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former governor Eric Greitens did a ride-along with Kansas City’s police department Friday. Before that happened, he put out a video on his Twitter page.
“Hey Guys, Heading Out Tonight with the KCPD on another ride-along,” the now-deleted video stated.
The video created controversy, though, from people who thought Greitens was doing the ride-along for political gain.
“I think we have a program where almost anyone in the public has a chance to do a ride-along” Mayor Quinton Lucas said Monday. “They go through a procedure. It’s usually approved, and then we trust that they won’t necessarily use it to cut a political ad immediately after.”
That’s what happened Friday though. On Monday, Greitens’ campaign said he wanted to “see firsthand the challenges officers face on a daily basis — especially when Democrat Mayor Quinton Lucas has pledged to Defund the Police and has been unable to secure a ride-along himself.”
Lucas is one of five Board of Police Commissioners who knows the process for getting a ride-along within the department.
“I’ve done a number of ride-alongs. I plan to do them again, and sometimes, you’ll describe that you were on one. Occasionally, you’ll have a picture with an officer or a sheriff’s deputy or something like that,” Lucas said Monday.
“What you don’t see and what I’ve never seen, is the sort of campaign imagery in the video, having officers turn on their lights, not responding to an incident, and really trying to use the brand of the Kansas City Police Department to support your United States Senate campaign.”
The police board said it asked Greitens’ campaign to take down the video.
“The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department is an apolitical organization and we do not promote or support political candidates. All citizens are welcome and encourages to do a ride-along, but that should not be used to promote a political position,” according to a statement from the Board of Police Commissioners. “Official approval for filming was not obtained from our department in this instance. As soon as were made aware of the post, we requested the campaign remove the video and they complied.”
“The ride-along was approved by the North Patrol Division,” KCPD spokesman Jake Becchina said Monday.
Becchina did not know who within the division specifically took Greitens out Friday on the ride-along.