Blue Line Broken: Former Kansas City, KS detective turns whistleblower

Our investigative unit sat down with a retired detective turned whistleblower to get a clearer perspective of how his old police department operated. Max Seifert outlined several troubling examples. (KCTV5)

KCTV5 News continues to investigate old allegations of corruption inside the Kansas City, KS Police Department. We’ve discovered the problems are generally resolved with your tax dollars and there is little accountability for the people involved.

Our investigative unit sat down with a retired detective turned whistleblower to get a clearer perspective of how his old police department operated. Max Seifert outlined several troubling examples.

The Warrant

The year was 1999, and a house in KCK was a suspected hub of drug activity and fraud.

"I caught two drug dealers two days in a row running drugs into his house," Seifert said. "He was running a flop house for criminals."

Seifert says his investigation was pointless because the person who lived there was a former police officer. Alarm bells went off when he discussed it with his old boss.

"I could see something wasn't right with him. He then proceeded to discourage me to get a search warrant," he said.

However, the prosecutor and a judge agreed someone should take a look.

"(He) says you are not to execute this search warrant," Seifert said.

Seifert says his investigation was gutted from all sides.

"He called down there and warned him like he was on his side, and I was the enemy ... like I was the criminal and he was the good guy. But this ... this was totally wrong. This is signed by a district court judge," Seifert said.

Seifert says the culture inside the KCKPD was changing.

"If you are speaking of corruption, it's like gravity. It starts at the top and it goes down," he said.

The Bowling Case

"I actually did a double take when he got off the elevator," Seifert said.

The year was 2003, and Seifert was assigned to investigate what happened with Barron Bowling.

"His face was swollen. His eyes were getting closed," Seifert said. "He pulled his shirt up, and he had a boot print on his back."

DEA agents were on 10th Street, just north of Montana, trying to drive around Bowling’s car in an unmarked car even though there was only one lane. And Bowling didn’t let them pass. The cars collided.

Court records say the agents turned on their siren and pulled Bowling over. They drew their guns, and Bowling was barechested on hot pavement. He was handcuffed and those agents beat Bowling in broad daylight in front of witnesses.

Bowling claims he lost consciousness and then he was arrested.

Seifert says he couldn’t cover this up, and he wouldn’t.

"All of the sudden, I became the bad guy," he said.

Seifert didn’t just cross the thin blue line. He broke it. He investigated the DEA agents who beat Bowling and then testified against those agents in court.

The judge awarded Bowling more than $800,000.

The judge wrote about Seifert too and called him the most credible witness and even included this statement:

“Seifert conducted a thorough investigation. And presciently, his career was not only put in jeopardy, he lost his career over this case. Seifert was shunned, subjected to gossip and defamation by his police colleagues and treated as a pariah."

"They put a knife in my back," Seifert said.

Lamonte McIntyre

If you are wondering why history matters, ask Lamonte McIntrye. He spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he didn’t commit. It turns out, he didn’t even know the victims.

McIntyre’s defense team says his case highlights sloppy police work and corruption. The same stuff Seifert is talking about.

"That was a perfect storm, in my opinion. You've got a perfect storm for Lamonte McIntrye. Here you've got a detective and you've got a prosecutor and rumors of allegations with the prosecutor and the judge," Seifert said.

Seifert says some of the same people involved in McIntyre’s case were also involved in the Bowling case, and they’re still in power.

However, one person who is not running from this is the current police chief, Terry Zeigler.

"I don't know what happened then, but I know where we are now as an agency," Zeigler said. "It needs to be looked at."

Seifert feels Zeigler is trying to clean up the things that took place in the past.

"I feel he's a good person," he said.

Seifert and Others

Max Seifert worked 31 years. It takes 32 years to get a full police pension. He says he couldn’t make it because the pressure became too great.Seifert eventually settled with the city, and that appears to be the trend. No one goes to jail, and checks get cut.

And that appears to be the only clear path for McIntrye.

The KBI has said discussions are underway with the prosecutor concerning how to proceed. But no formal investigation is underway.

Other agencies have indicated they no longer have jurisdiction because the allegations are so old. Which means the only option he has left is to sue for money.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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Investigative Reporter

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