Ferrelview police chief awarded damages in civil suit against former employer

Last week, a Clay County jury found in favor of Daniel Clayton at the end of a wrongful termination lawsuit the former chief of police filed against the City of Mosby.

The jury found that the City of Mosby wrongfully terminated Clayton on the basis of his race. Clayton is African-American. 

Citizen file photo A Clay County jury recently awarded Ferrelview Police Department chief Daniel Clayton, pictured here, punitive damages in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the City of Mosby (Mo.), his former employer.

Citizen file photo
A Clay County jury recently awarded Ferrelview Police Department chief Daniel Clayton, pictured here, punitive damages in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the City of Mosby (Mo.), his former employer.

On Friday, March 31 after a week-long jury trial in the court of Judge Janet Sutton, the jury ruled in Clayton’s favor and awarded him $311,800 in compensation and punitive damages. Clayton joined the Ferrelview Police Department after his termination from the City of Mosby in 2014.

Since becoming chief of Ferrelview’s police department, Clayton’s tenure has been filled with accusations of misconduct and mistreatment of citizens. These type of accusations were similar to the ones the City of Mosby cited when terminating his employment three years ago.

Harlin Clements — mayor of Mosby — said the city plans to appeal the verdict, but had no other comment on the matter. Mosby is a city of about 200 residents located between Liberty and Excelsior Springs in Clay County.

Clayton worked as an officer in Mosby for a little more than a year, from August 2013 to October 2014. Mosby disbanded its police department and entered a contract with the Clay County Sheriff’s Department for police services in August of 2015. 

Clayton filed suit against the city in October 2015, just months after he started work in Ferrelview in July 2015.

Village of Ferrelview officials have continued to support Clayton despite controversy. Residents and others who have encountered Clayton accuse the chief of harassment and unnecessarily rude behavior. 

Kansas City attorney Dennis Rowland continues to represent alleged victims of Clayton’s harassment in civil suits still pending in Platte County. Neither Clayton nor his attorney showed up to a hearing in one suit scheduled for September 2016. 

Simmering tensions overtopped a few times last year, when the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, then the FBI investigated the allegations against Clayton. No criminal charges were filed due to the investigations. 

In May 2016, deputies with the sheriff’s office were called in for support when citizens allegedly grew too rowdy during a Ferrelview Board of Trustee’s meeting, which was eventually ended early.

The Mosby case was central to Rowland’s criticism of Clayton’s behavior, as reported in The Citizen in June 2016. Rowland said Ferrelview village officials didn’t do their homework to discover the allegations made against Clayton in Mosby. 

Although city officials admitted in June of 2016 they were previously unaware of the wrongful termination suit, they affirmed that the hiring process was legitimate. 

In its response to Clayton’s civil petition, Mosby officials outlined six reports of Clayton’s allegedly rude or unprofessional behavior received by the city in 2013 and 2014. The court papers state that “during plaintiff’s (Clayton’s) employment, he displayed a lack of professional decorum to citizens, co-workers, elected officials and the judiciary.” 

According to the court record, he was terminated due to these reasons.

Clayton said he believed he was terminated in retaliation for making a complaint about a discriminatory and hostile working environment, according to the original petition for damages. In May 2014, he made a sexual harassment complaint about an inappropriate picture in the municipal court clerk’s office. He said after making that complaint he was treated differently. 

As the only African-American city employee, Clayton said he was “singled out and treated differently based on his skin color.” In January 2015, he filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR), which issued Clayton a right-to-sue letter in July 2015.