Group sounds alarm on police use of force in Taser incident

10 months 10 hours 20 minutes ago Thursday, March 28 2019 Mar 28, 2019 Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:40:00 PM CDT March 28, 2019 in News
By: Natalie Sopyla, KOMU 8 News Reporter

COLUMBIA- A local police accountability group is calling out the Columbia Police Department for its use of force in a recent incident in which officers used a Taser.

Police arrested Alexander C. Wells on March 17 at around 2 a.m. for sexual misconduct and resisting arrest.

According to a statement from Public Information Officer Jeff Pitts, officers responded to the scene at Broadway and Eighth street where Wells was reportedly heavily intoxicated, had stripped off his clothes and was trying to start fights with people.

In the statement, Pitts said Wells "continued to advance toward them," so they used a Taser to subdue him.

Citizens for Justice said this isn't the case. They said a video posted to the group's YouTube channel shows Wells retreated from the officers, who then used a Taser.

Matt Akins, the group's founder, said he doesn't see in the video what CPD claims happened.

"I saw a guy that probably nobody wanted to tackle because he was naked," he said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean [using a Taser] was the right move to make."

In his statement, Pitts said the officers at the scene made the best decision for the situation.

"Officers had to use the least amount of force necessary to prevent any injury towards the subject, bystanders as well as officers," he said.

Akins said he believes police made a mistake in this situation. He added he thinks police should be held accountable for this.

"The police force works for the public," he said. "We deserve to know what they have going on, how they are conducting themselves and are they conducting themselves in a manner that is appropriate for the task at hand?"

As of the date of publication, no charges have been filed against Wells.

KOMU 8 News has reached out to the Columbia Police Department for comment on the video and what it shows and is waiting to hear back.

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