COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 spoke with Matthew Akins of Citizens for Justice and Michael Blum who is Dominick Roland's attorney Tuesday. Two investigations into former Columbia officer, Rob Sanders center around Akins and Roland.
The Columbia Police Department arrested Dominick Roland for first degree robbery on July 17, 2011. Surveillance video shows Officer Sanders pushing Roland down and dragging him by his shirt in the cell, although the video does not show what happened before Sanders acted. The Columbia Police Department will not say if the other two officers in the cell are under investigation. One other officer pulled his taser but did not use it.
Roland's attorney, Michael Blum, did not know about the incident or the investigation. Roland had not filed any complaint with the department. Lieutenant Krista Jones said any use of force is reviewed by the "chain of command," and if supervising officers see anything worrisome, the review is passed on to the Internal Affairs Unit. Lieutenant Jones and Public Affairs Officers Latisha Stroer and Jill Wieneke would not say what caused the supervisor to bring the video to Internal Affairs.
Roland told Blum, his attorney, that before Sanders pushed him, he was asking for a blanket. Roland is scheduled to appear in court at the Boone County courthouse on November 7th.
The second investigation surfaced after Sanders approached Akin's car, and asked for identification after Akin's and a passenger recorded Sanders during another traffic stop. Akins released video of Sanders saying he did not need probable cause to pull over a motorist.
Officer Jill Wieneke said aspects of the video were concerning and passed the video to Chief Ken Burton. Burton, then turned over the video to Internal Affairs. Akins said he felt Sanders acted inappropriately by approaching him without reason, and would like an explanation. Akins said he was just uncomfortable with Sanders' demeanor while asking for his identification.
Amy Sanders, Rob Sanders's wife, said her husband will not comment on the issues, due to pending criminal charges. Sanders also says her family has an attorney and is attempting to get information from the Police Department to finalize an appeal to the termination. Sanders said she expects the Fraternal Order of Police to publicly express their support for her husband in the coming weeks.
Amy Sanders said she doesn't think these types of investigations are unusual, but she does think the department is highlighting these particular incidents to portray her husband as a "bad cop."
KOMU 8 tried to reach Chief Burton for comment, but a receptionist said he was out of town.