Columbia Police and Review Board Struggle to Define Misconduct

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COLUMBIA - After months of debate about the relationship between the Citizens Police Review Board and the Columbia Police, Mayor Bob McDavid said the groups have two months to hammer out their differences last night.

"If there are difference of opinion that remain, after two months discussion, I'm gonna ask the city council to change the ordinance. I don't know how I'm going to vote on this," Mayor McDavid said.

One key issue centers around each groups' definition of misconduct. Columbia Police said want the Review Board's definition to reflect Missouri State Statute. The Review Board said their bylaws are sufficient.

The issue has some heated history. In November 2010, police chief Ken Burton rejected a Review Board decision which ruled an officer used excessive force during an arrest. He said the group did not know enough about the situation to make such a ruling.

The Review Board then struck back. Former Chairperson Ellen LoCurto-Martinez said the group followed standard procedure and went to every length to make a correct ruling.

"We gave it a fair review, we talked to the witnesses personally. I'm not sure that he actually talked to all the witnesses, I'm sure Internal Affairs did," she said.

Mayor McDavid said the whole process would ultimately take three months if the groups cannot come to a resolution. KOMU tried to contact both the Columbia Police and the Citizens Police Review Board. Both groups refused to comment.