KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The final 10 minutes of an hour-long Unified Government mayoral debate had a very different feel as Mayor David Alvey accused challenger Tyrone Garner of covering up police corruption and Garner demanded an apology.
It’s set the stage for what could be a very different race than the direction it seemed to be heading in the first 50 minutes.
The debate hosted by the Chamber of Commerce centered on issues ranging from how to reduce taxes, urban blight and bring new business to downtown Kansas City Kansas. Garner pointed out recent projects have mostly gone to the area around the Legends and Village West.
“We’ve heard for years and years development prospects out west, the money from that would be generated and would flow east. People are upset frustrated and disgusted,” Garner said.
“When people say the development out west doesn’t benefit, that’s not true. Even the new Amazon immediately provides $1.8 million as soon as its operational,” Alvey countered.
But one last question about whether each candidate would support a Department of Justice investigation into the Kansas City Kansas Police Department brought fireworks.
Former KCK detective Roger Golubski is accused of sexually coercing women into false statements to help send potentially innocent people to jail. Garner retired from the department as deputy chief in 2019.
“You were on the police force, second in command and writing policy and you did not come forward. If you knew about these things and did not come forward I think we deserve an explanation of why not,” Alvey challenged Garner.
“Don’t even go there with me and try to play me into this game and spin something on me, it’s shameful. I served this community honorably,” Garner responded forcefully.
Garner, who served as an internal affairs investigator, denied knowing about alleged corruption, but said if elected he’d sit down with the new police chief, district attorney and sheriff to seek their advice on whether an outside investigation is warranted.
“I didn’t sit on any information because I didn’t know about any information I found out about it just like you did,” Garner told Alvey, saying he should apologize to every police officer.
“I should not have assumed that you knew about this, but again it seems from the outside when someone is in that position would have seen what is going on,” Alvey responded.
Mayor Alvey says the Unified Government is cooperating with the FBI on the Detective Golubski investigation. He said he’d also support a DOJ investigation if the Chief supported it but did say that would likely cost about $1 million annually that could be spent elsewhere.
Before the heated exchange, the two candidates agreed to a second debate sponsored by the KCK Chamber of Commerce on October 29, before the November 2 election. They agreed the debate would once again be held at Memorial Hall.