COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department concluded an internal investigation this month regarding a traffic stop on Sept. 2.
Two Columbia residents, Kamal Annoor and Tenacious Jones, were detained during the stop by officers near Clark Lane and Towne Drive.
CPD released parts of the body cam video in a pre-produced community debriefing on Dec. 3.
Media was not able to ask questions during this briefing, so KOMU 8 News requested public records of body camera video, dash camera footage, the internal investigation and training documents related to the stop.
The Citizen's Police Review Board unanimously voted on Dec. 9 for the CPD Chief Geoff Jones to reconsider the internal investigation and decision policy violations.
KOMU 8 News also received all records pertaining to this traffic stop, except training documents. The City of Columbia Public Records Center said training documents are not available because the only person in charge of researching this request was out of town.
The investigation concluded Detective Nicholas Wulff wasn’t in violation of any policies.
In an interview with internal affairs, Detective Wulff alleges three moving violations. He said the driver traveled 40 miles an hour, in a 30 mile-per-hour zone, failed to stay on the right side of the road and crossed into the middle of the street, and ran a stop sign.
There is no dash camera footage of these violations because the detective didn’t turn his lights on until after they occurred. The on board dash cam system only starts recording once lights turn on, according to the CPD records clerk.
Internal Affairs Officer Brandon Holtz reviewed some aspects of the traffic stop during the internal investigation.
“I believe the search was lawful, and I do not believe there was any misconduct on the part of Detective Wulff. I believe this investigation to be unfounded on both counts,” Officer Holtz said.
During the encounter between CPD officers and the two citizens, Detective Wulff said he asked Annoor to step out of the car. When he didn’t immediately comply, the detective said he would pull him out of the vehicle.
During the internal review, CPD said, “The verbal escalation is a tactic commonly used to avoid having to use physical force.”
After portions of this traffic stop were recorded on a cell phone and posted on social media, Rebecca Shaw, a member of CoMo for Progress, emailed a complaint to the police department.
In this complaint, she questioned the detective’s reasoning of searching the vehicle for marijuana "shake", or shavings. During the internal affairs interview, Detective Wulff said he asked the couple to step out of the vehicle after noticing marijuana between the driver side door and driver seat.
“It appears to be truthful and accurate as there was a green leafy substance on the floorboard that looked like marijuana particles. The marijuana particles were not collected as the officers used discretion to not move forward with a criminal case due to the small amount of illegal substance located inside of the vehicle,” the review concluded.
The substance in question was not tested to confirm the officer’s allegations. Neither Annoor or Jones were charged with possession of any illegal substances.
The internal investigation said when Jones exited the vehicle and refused to leave her purse inside of the car, it created an officer safety issue.
“I tell her she's got two options, that either she can relax, since you know, she can either continue to escalate situation going handcuffs in the car or she wants to be cool. She can sit down on the pavement and at which point she raised her arms towards me so I put her in handcuffs,” Detective Hayes said during the internal affairs interview.
The body cam footage showed Jones asking what her options were. Jones is holding phones in both hands, and the footage does not show her raising her hands or threatening any officers on the scene.
The internal review also mentioned that officers remained calm and explained the situation when they were faced with a “verbally abusive female passenger shouting obscenities.”
After Detective Wulff removed Jones’ handcuffs, she questioned why she was put in detained after being asked to exit the vehicle.
Detective Wulff did not answer, but walks over to Annoor and states, “I’m not gonna talk to her cause she’s acting a fool.”
The investigation did not address any issues with this statement.
After the internal investigation concluded, Chief Jones reached out to Shaw with results. The review determined the search and treatment of the parties involved were “unfounded,” meaning the acts complained of “did not occur or were misconstrued”. He also mentioned the investigation identified training needs that would be addressed.
There was no mention of any corrective action in internal review documents.
“I have reviewed the incident and all available audio/video. It is my belief the officer acted in an appropriate manner that was lawful and respectful towards both subjects. The actions taken by the officer during this incident was consistent with our department's training, policy and procedure," Officer Holtz stated in his decision.
KOMU 8 News reached out to the Ethical Society of Police to get more context on police training in these situations. ESOP's President Donnell Walters responded in an email.
KOMU 8 News will follow-up when any training records related to the traffic stop become available.
Watch KOMU 8 News at 10 on Monday, Dec. 14 for the full Target 8 Exclusive.