Police Upset Over Board Ruling
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Officers Association stated its upset Thursday over the Citizens Police Review Board decision to rule against an officer for using excessive force. The Board voted 6-2 that Officer Nathan Turner used too much force when handcuffing civilian Derek Billups outside Nephew's Nightclub. The owner of the club called police after Billups refused to leave.
Turner claims that the two slipped while he was trying to handcuff Billups. However, Billups argues that Turner went straight to force before asking enough questions.
The event happened on December 12, 2009, and the board began the review just a few months ago on October 27. The board listened to three police officers, three witnesses, and Billups himself.
Review board chairperson Ellen LoCurto-Martinez said this is an unprecedented case.
"It was the first time we have had extensive testimony," LoCurto-Martinez said. "It was the first time we had police officers testifying. We actually had the witnesses come in and testify. So it was unique in a lot of cases."
Now that the board has made its decision, the recommendation will now be handed to Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton. He must decide within 10 days whether or not to accept the board's decision. If he decides not to, LoCurto-Martinez expects Billups to appeal.