Former CPD officer "not surprised" by Chief Ken Burton's leave

9 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, December 20 2018 Dec 20, 2018 Thursday, December 20, 2018 10:45:00 PM CST December 20, 2018 in News
By: Nnamdi Egwuonwu, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Former Columbia Police Department officer Rob Sanders said Thursday he's not surprised Police Chief Ken Burton was placed on administrative leave.

"I've been expecting this for years now," he said.

Sanders worked for the department for 18 years before being fired by Burton in 2011. Burton, alongside other city officials, accused Sanders of using excessive force while detaining inmate Kenneth Baker, who would go on to suffer a fractured vertebra. Sanders was charged with misdemeanor assault over the incident, but was later acquitted by a Boone County judge.

At the time of Sanders' firing, Burton said: "The personnel action that has been taken demonstrates a zero tolerance for conduct that undermines the Columbia Police Department's credibility, or that may damage the public's trust in our department."

Years later, Sanders said he feels vindicated.

"There certainly is some validation in the fact that somebody has at least found some reason to put him on administrative leave," Sanders said. "I hear stories from officers and citizens, and finally some action."

According to Sanders, current Columbia Police Department staff are looking forward to a change in leadership.

"I've kept in great close contact with the officers and everyone says there just miserable under this guys reign," he said. "I think there's a lot of people that are extremely excited to hear that he's been put on administrative leave and very hopeful that he will not be employed here much longer."

Sanders is currently suing the city of Columbia in hopes of getting his job back. While he said he's unsure of the city's decision-making process, he's hopeful his chances have improved.

"I would say the two staunchest detractants from not only me coming back but being a police officer are either gone or on the way out, and so I would say that certainly doesn't hurt my position at all," Sanders said.
Alongside Burton, the former officer was referring to former City Manager Mike Matthes, who resigned from his post in November.

KOMU 8 News reached out to the city and Columbia Police Department several times about Burton's leave but did not hear back.

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