Kansas City Council candidate Heather Hall landed in hot water for using Police Chief Darryl Forté’s photo without his permission on a campaign flier.
Virginia Murray, general counsel for the Kansas City Police Department, sent a letter to Hall’s campaign Monday saying the candidate should not use any more pictures of the chief on her campaign literature. A picture of Hall and Forté standing together was included in one of Hall’s recent mailings.
Under state law and police policy, Murray wrote, Forté is prohibited from allowing candidates to use his likeness for any political purpose.
“The photograph on your campaign mailer is clearly intended to cause recipients to believe that Chief Forté is supporting Ms. Hall’s candidacy for City Council,” Murray’s letter said. “But the use of the chief’s likeness is unauthorized and should not reoccur.”
In a text message, Hall said the use of the picture was “an oversight.”
“I fully support Chief Forté and look forward to working with him to make this city safer,” she said.
She did not respond to additional questions about whether the picture had been removed from subsequent mailings.
A recent poll shows Hall in a neck-and-neck race with incumbent Dick Davis for the 1st District Council seat, representing most of Kansas City in Clay County. The election is June 23.
Hall, who is married to a Kansas City police officer and has the support of several police organizations, came in first in the four-way April 7 primary with 31 percent of the vote. Davis was second with 29 percent. Two other candidates were eliminated.
Forté told reporters Tuesday that no one asked for permission to use his picture in any campaign literature. He emphasized he is neutral on all the council races.
“I was just shocked,” Forté said when he learned of the mailer. “I take pictures with a lot of people, a lot of candidates, but (Hall was) the only one who just happened to use my picture. There are no hard feelings.”