Judge Finds Former Police Officer Rob Sanders Not Guilty

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

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
COLUMBIA — May 1st is now recognized by the U.S. Senate as Silver Star Service Banner Day, to honor those... More >>
2 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 3:58:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri College of Engineering students introduced this year's race car built for the upcoming competition... More >>
3 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 2:45:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ameren Missouri is proposing two voluntary programs that would require customers' to support more solar power.... More >>
4 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 1:57:48 PM CDT in News
NEW MELLE (AP) — A university that owned the two-century-old house in suburban St. Louis that once was famed frontiersman... More >>
5 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 12:15:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — An interim diversity officer at the Un iversity of Missouri will be returning to the university's School... More >>
5 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 12:10:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led Legislature is weighing a number of tax breaks for businesses as the session wraps... More >>
6 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 12:06:09 PM CDT in News
BALLWIN (AP) — The Latest on Missouri's congressional district Republican conventions (all times local): 4:45 p.m. Donald Trump has... More >>
6 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 11:59:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS — After a month of food donations, Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance will announce the total weight of its... More >>
9 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 8:59:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The Boone County Sheriff's Department, Columbia Police Department and Jefferson City Police Department collected unused or unwanted prescription... More >>
21 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 8:28:00 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A 28-year-old Springfield man has been sentenced to two life terms for fatally stabbing a rural southwest... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 4:23:26 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Safe Kids Columbia unveiled its new Safe Kids Mobile Education Unit Saturday. Children also learned about safety while... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 4:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Boone Hospital gave community members a chance to receive a variety of free cancer screenings at their 3rd... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:54:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY — A woman was hospitalized after crashing her car on Highway 63 Saturday afternoon. According to the... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:49:00 PM CDT in News
CHICAGO - The NFL Draft has called and Mizzou answered. Today three former Missouri Tigers were selected in the... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:23:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Junior Golf Foundation opened the Ken Lanning Golf Center Saturday morning. The golf course... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Hundreds of mid-Missourians gathered at Bass Pro Shops Lake Saturday morning for the fifth annual "Float Your Boat... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 2:41:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — There are two weeks left for the Missouri Legislature to pass bills, and some Democrats are... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 1:27:24 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) said Saturday a man who they arrested on Wednesday has died. ... More >>
1 day ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 8:53:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
7pm 61°
8pm 58°
9pm 56°
10pm 54°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00p
Little Big Shots
7:00p
Little Big Shots
8:01p
The Carmichael Show
4:30p
Space Cowboys
7:00p
A History of Violence
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Little Big Shots
8:01p
The Carmichael Show
8:30p
Crowded
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
A History of Violence
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Cougar Town