FERRELVIEW, Mo. — The FBI recently reviewed a Platte County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the actions of the village’s embattled police chief. The FBI ended its review after determining that “the information (revealed by the Sheriff’s Office during their investigation) does not warrant federal prosecution” of chief Daniel Clayton, according to a spokeperson.
The village, just east of KCI, has been the center of a multiple-month controversy.
A handful of Ferrelview’s 451 citizens have issued complaints about Clayton ranging from allegations of aggressive behavior from the chief to concerns with corruption stemming from the local government. The Ferrelview Board of Trustees asked the sheriff’s office to review some of them, which prompted the initial investigation.
The sheriff’s office requested that the FBI check over the investigation into Clayton part way through the process.
“During the course of the investigation, our investigators thought it was prudent that the FBI review the matter,” said Capt. Erik Holland, administrative division commander for the Platte County Sheriff’s Office.
The FBI has since determined the investigation had not revealed any evidence that warrants federal prosecution, said Matt McPhillips, acting media coordinator for the Kansas City FBI office. The investigation, Holland says, is ongoing.
“Our detectives investigate everything as thoroughly as they can and follow wherever the evidence leads them,” Holland says. “Once (the sheriff’s office) finishes up everything they’re doing, they will most likely forward (the investigation) to the state prosecutor for his review.”
Holland said that the state prosecutor could either file charges based on the information or ask the sheriff’s office to turn the results of the investigation over to the Ferrelview board to be handled as a “personnel matter.” Investigations into law enforcement officers “have occurred in the past, but they are not frequent,” Holland said.
Ferrelview residents have questioned the board’s decision not to remove Clayton from his position pending the investigation, but board of trustees chairperson Steven Carr said there was no reason to take such action. Recent trustees meeting have been contentious at times with complaints being heard about Clayton’s behavior while on the job.
The board’s legal counsel recently made a statement of support for Clayton and his work: “The board has made it very clear to me that their No. 1 priority is the long-term best interests of the Village of Ferrelview and the safety of its citizens. In keeping with those ideals, each of them decidedly asserted that police chief Daniel Clayton is the best officer they have ever hired. They say that Clayton cares more about his job and the people he serves and puts in more hours than any single officer in their individual memories.”
“(Clayton) has got rights as much as anybody else,” Carr said. “(The complaints) are only hearsay, so there was no reason (to remove him) since they’re just allegations.”
Previous investigations by The Platte County Citizen have shown an overall increase in traffic tickets during Clayton’s year-long tenure with an average of more than 40 tickets per month being filed in the first five months of 2016. A faction of Ferrelview residents has questioned the rise in citations, going so far as to suggest that Clayton has used minor traffic violations to harass citizens.
Clayton denied the allegations in a previous interview, stating, “If you stop somebody for doing something, … it’s considered harassment these days, not that you’re just doing your job.”
Multiple area residents have suggested that Clayton has acted overly aggressive during routine traffic stops.
One citizen said he was placed in handcuffs and removed of his service weapon during a routine traffic stop. Another citizen said Clayton filed for a protection order against her for unknown reasons after she and her boyfriend received multiple traffic violations from the officer. A Ferrelview resident said she spent the night in a Platte County jail cell because of a failure to obey a lawful order charge.
Although multiple residents have expressed concern with the chief, the board says that they stand behind his actions.