by Ivan Foley
The investigation into complaints against Daniel Clayton, Ferrelview police chief, has reached the federal level.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reviewing the results of an investigation into those complaints. The probe has been performed by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.
“Based upon our investigation, we thought it would be prudent to have the FBI conduct a review,” Cpt. Erik Holland of the sheriff’s department told The Landmark this week.
Holland was careful not to describe the FBI’s role in the matter as an investigation but as “a review.” He said the FBI is taking a look at reports and findings that are part of the sheriff department’s investigation into complaints against Clayton.
Holland was unwilling to be more specific since the investigation is ongoing, but it is possible the sheriff’s department asked the FBI to determine whether any potential federal civil rights violations have occurred.
Holland said the sheriff’s department is reviewing “four or five” written complaints from members of the public who were unhappy with the interaction they experienced with the chief. The complaints were first filed with Ferrelview city officials. Steve Carr, chairman of the city’s governing body, last month said he had forwarded complaints against the town’s police chief to the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.
After the FBI gives a ruling on any federal concerns, the sheriff’s department will forward the findings of its investigation to the county prosecutor’s office to make a determination if any state level charges are warranted.
If authorities determine no criminal activity by the chief has occurred, Ferrelview in effect will be told the situation is simply a personnel matter to be dealt with at the discretion of city leaders.
Ferrelview is a village of 450 residents east of KCI in Platte County. The Landmark first reported on considerable dissatisfaction with Clayton after nearly 50 concerned members of the public appeared at a Ferrelview Board of Trustees meeting on May 10.
That meeting featured an at times unruly atmosphere with yelling, multiple people speaking at the same time, and the use of profanity. Toward the end of the public comment portion of the meeting, Clayton radioed for backup and two deputies from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department soon arrived and they, along with Clayton, cleared City Hall as the board voted to go into closed session.
Complaints that have been spoken against Clayton in public meetings include allegations of harassment, bullying, overzealousness in enforcing alleged traffic violations. Specific verbal complaints have included one woman who says the police chief has tailgated her car so closely that if she hit the rakes it would have caused an accident, a woman who claims the chief follows her 16-year-old son every time he is walking through town and has called her son “a little punk,” a woman who says the chief denied her the right to park in a public parking lot, and complaints from two residents who say the chief has improperly removed signs they posted on private property encouraging citizens to come speak their complaints against the chief.
Dennis Rowland, a Kansas City attorney, said one of his clients was harassed by the chief.
“The police chief harassed my client by removing and dismantling his firearm,” Rowland said, adding that his client is a process server allowed to carry a firearm under state law. The client also has a concealed carry permit, Rowland said.
“It appears to me the police chief is going around writing tickets with wild abandon, without restraint. There’s a lot of anger among residents in Ferrelview,” Rowland added.
A few others who have had interaction with Clayton have come forward to defend him, calling him “a good officer” who they believe has reduced criminal activity.
After the June board meeting, in an interview with The Landmark, Clayton said he had not yet been interviewed by county sheriff investigators. Sources this week say detectives have now spoken with Clayton as part of the investigation.