State complaint: Ferrelview police chief could lose peace officer license

NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Clayton's job title with the City of Mosby. He served there as a police officer. A recent vote at the Ferrelview Board of Trustees meeting was also incorrect. The board voted 4-1. The Citizen regrets the errors.

The Ferrelview Board of Trustees plans to review police chief Daniel Clayton’s employment, but the embattled officer appears to face even bigger issues.

According to a petition filed earlier this month, the Missouri Department of Public Safety has filed a complaint, alleging Clayton has violated “statutes or regulations governing (his) licensed profession. The notice with the complaint states that Clayton has 30 days from receipt to admit, deny or maintain insufficient knowledge to admit or deny the facts in the complaint.

 Citizen file photo Ferrelview Police Department chief Daniel Clayton

Citizen file photo
Ferrelview Police Department chief Daniel Clayton

Clayton’s hearing before the Missouri Department of Public Safety Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

The complaint cites four different incidents during Clayton’s tenure with the Ferrelview Police Department, recently reduced to just him serving in a part time capacity due to financial concerns. The allegations include excessive use of force and sexual misconduct.

Failure of Clayton or his legal representation to respond to the state complaint against his license would constitute an admission of guilt. The commission will have the right to discipline him if found in violation of various state statutes listed as cause in the complaint.

Tara Borron, Derrick Hayes and Robert Rowland — all outspoken critics of Clayton — are named in the complaint, which is seven pages long.

According to the complaint, multiple witnesses observed Clayton assaulting a 16-year-old male in October of 2015. This included handcuffing the boy and “forcibly pushing” him up against a patrol car while shouting profanities at him and his mother.

During the incident in Ferrelview, Clayton allagedly also retrieved a 14-year-old female at the residence while “heard being verbally and physically abusive.”

In a separate 2015 incident, witnesses allegedly observed Clayton pulling over Amy Morgan and her then-juvenile daughter without probable cause before interrogating them “in an aggressive and belligerent manner. Morgan was placed into handcuffs when Clayton allegedly started “a sexually aggressive pat-down” of her.

According to the complaint, Clayton shook the strap of her undergarment so violently that her breasts came out of her shirt. He also reached underneath her shirt before placing his hands on her lower extremities, including her leg and vagina.

Morgan was allegedly arrested, shoved in the backseat of the car so forcefully she struck her head and put on a 24-hour hold charged with defective equipment.

In April of 2016, Clayton allegedly conducted a traffic stop on Rowland for a turn signal violation. The complaint alleges that Rowland was placed in handcuffs and searched with Clayton locating a firearm. Rowland had allegedly told Clayton about the weapon and had a valid permit to carry it.

The complaint goes on to state that Clayton confiscated and dismantled the firearm “in an unsafe manner,” handing it back to the alleged victim in pieces. Clayton then allegedly told him to leave the area and followed him until he complied.

The final incident occurred this February when Clayton allegedly set up a blockade to prevent Hayes and Borron from leaving Ferrelview. According to the complaint, he stopped the vehicle without providing a reason and accused the couple of trespassing.

Hayes and Borron had been plaintiffs in a civil suit against Clayton. During the stop, Hayes had his attorney on the phone as a witness, and Clayton allegedly grabbed at his phone in a violent manner.

The incident involving Rowland matches a story told at public meeting in May of 2016 — about a month after the date on the complaint. He was in Ferrelview to serve documents when Clayton made the stop.

Allegations of Clayton’s misconduct started to receive more attention, and Dennis Rowland — Robert Rowland’s father — began providing legal advice to some residents. An investigation The Citizen conducted last summer showed municipal traffic fines and court fees on the rise in Ferrelview with Clayton on the force.

Potential overcollection of those fines and failure to repay the state have allegedly put the village of about 450 residents into financially dire straits. The Missouri State Auditor’s Office is set to begin an audit that could help verify some of the concerns.

However, some residents vociferously defend Clayton and his policing tactics. Recent meetings of the Ferrelview Board of Trustees have again become combative with three newly elected members first disbanding the municipal court and then reducing the police force, all in a stated effort to save money.

The board recently served a 10-day notice of intent to terminate Clayton, but the board voted to give a 30-day extension during a special meeting held last week. The move was made to give Clayton’s lawyer a chance to provide a response.

Clayton came to Ferrelview more than two years ago after a stint as an officer with the now defunct Mosby (Mo.) Police Department.

This past April, a Clay County jury found in favor of Clayton at the end of a wrongful termination lawsuit, finding that the City of Mosby wrongfully terminated Clayton.

Also at last week’s meeting, the board asked Clayton to provide a schedule of four five-hour shifts per week to be “more seen in Ferrelview” with hours available between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. That would take up his allocation of 20 hours a week.

Discussion at the meeting indicated Clayton also began working another job. The motion passed with a 4-1 vote with recently appointed trustee Phillip Gilliam voting no.

The board also approved up to $350 to have security cameras installed on village property after reports of recent vandalism to police vehicles. Another vote requires the vehicle to be kept in the village garage when not in use.

Despite a contentious discussion, the board voted 3-2 to pay the Platte County Sheriff’s Office to provide deputies for security at future board meetings. The cost will be $30 an hour — although it was never specified if that’s per deputy or overall — and when an audience member asked how the village could afford the payments, Theresa Wilson, recently elected and now the chairman of the board, answered, “Our meetings are getting out of control, and they’re an embarrassment.”

An audience member said extra officers were not required prior to Wilson joining the board. However, deputies were called to the June 2016 meeting when proceedings were determined to be out of order.