Judge Finds Former Police Officer Rob Sanders Not Guilty

4 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, October 01 2013 Oct 1, 2013 Tuesday, October 01, 2013 7:34:00 PM CDT October 01, 2013 in News
By: Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

COLUMBIA - Judge Carol England found former Columbia Police Officer Rob Sanders not guilty of third degree assault on Tuesday at the Boone County courthouse. Sanders faced the assault charge for pushing inmate Kenneth Baker in a holding cell. England's verdict comes more than two years after that incident.  

While the court trial lasted a day and a half, it didn't take England long to make her decision. She acquitted Sanders of the assault charge just minutes after the defense and prosecution finished their closing arguments, which sent a wave of emotion into the courtroom.

Just as quickly as the judge made her decision, tears started to fall. Sanders and his wife Amy hugged each other before embracing other family members and supporters. 

"I did nothing wrong," Sanders said. "It's been proven now in court of law. I've been unconcerned except for the time period that it's taken since we took off."

The push occurred in August 2011 and shortly after the police department fired Sanders. Around a year later in August 2012, the state charged him with third degree assault. Flash forward to 2013, and England acquitted him for the crime. 

On the final day of Rob Sanders' court trial, three witnesses took the stand including Sanders. The defense also called Lt. Christopher Kelley and Sgt. Chad Craig with the Columbia Police Department. Kelley served as the lieutenant over the night shift when Sanders was employed. He concurred with the investigation of the incident done by the police department, which found Sanders had followed all policies and procedures. 

Craig serves as the sergeant of the training and recruiting unit and is the lead trainer of defense tactics. The defense and prosecution questioned Craig about the use of force allowed within the department's policies and how officers are trained.

Craig explained officers are to control the situation as quickly as possible with minimal risk. He added it is wrong for officers to purposefully use force without cause. Craig called Sanders shoving Baker something between a strike and a push. He said Sanders acted within his training when it came to the situation with Baker.

"It's the only way they could testify because it's exactly what happened," Sanders said. "So, this was not a surprise to me because I've known this for two years."

The state argued Sanders recklessly injured inmate Kenneth Baker while he was calm in his cell just asking for water to wash pepper spray out of his eyes. The defense said Sanders followed the police department's policies and didn't intend to hurt Baker. 

Prosecutor Mark Richardson stands by the charge.

"In this case, based on the video, the public deserved a trial. All the people interested had a public trial and the evidence was presented and consisted of the video tape. The judge made her decision and we accept that decision," Richardson said.

Sanders' shove cost him his job, and now with the assault charge out of the way, he said he hopes to get back in uniform.

"Based on the evidence and his actions, there's no reason not to reinstate him. He was improperly removed from his position and we're confident he will be reinstated with back pay and benefits," said Dale Roberts with the Columbia Police Officers Association.

"The legal system might be slower, however, it is just and justice will be had," Sanders said.

The next step for Sanders in getting his job back, is to take the issue to the police personnel board. He also wants to get his dog Fano back to work.

KOMU 8 News reached out Chief Ken Burton's office Tuesday afternoon and is waiting for a comment regarding the case.

More News

Grid
List
HOLTS SUMMIT - Joshua Lee is a retired sergeant from the Missouri National Guard where he served from 2007 to... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:00:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri moved to a new location to help feed more people... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:34:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri House committee investigating Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has hired former state Supreme... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:32:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - MU researchers say there will be 600 million people with some level of diabetic blindness by the year... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:27:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Downtown Leadership Council wants more parking spaces for customers and visitors downtown. The Downtown Leadership Council... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:58:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
SWEET SPRINGS - As temperatures rise in Central Missouri, so do fishermen's aspirations of landing their trophy catch. Missouri's lakes... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - "Organic" and "non-GMO"—these food labels adorn all kinds of products, from breakfast cereal to snack food. And according... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
BELLERIVE (AP) — The University of Missouri-St. Louis is considering eliminating some degree programs amid financial trouble. A committee... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:17:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Missouri State University and its food supplier are investigating to determine how a small mouse was found... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – A study out this week finds high stress levels among elementary teachers affect student behavior and performance. ... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:38:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More than 100 immigrants gathered to become American citizens at the naturalization ceremony Wednesday afternoon. "It's... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:29:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Legal experts say Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was not entitled to use a donor list... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:11:56 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The head of an MU Latino student group said Wednesday a court ruling to protect the Deferred Action... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:06:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH - Hundreds celebrated the life of Miller County sheriff's deputy Casey Shoemate Wednesday morning. Shoemate died Friday... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:49:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. CHARLES (AP) — In a brief and subdued speech to hundreds of St. Louis area police officers, Missouri Gov.... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:41:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Union teachers are urging lawmakers to vote against a bill that would change how unions use dues... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:28:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — One out of every three Missouri families is now affected by the opioid crisis. This fact drove the... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 1:50:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The five-year battle between Jefferson City YMCA and the city of Holts Summit intensified this week when... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 1:37:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 48°
3am 49°
4am 48°
5am 46°
6am 44°