The screen shot below was captured on 3/27/2013 at 8:20PM on the personal Facebook page of Dale Roberts, Executive Director of the Columbia Police Officers Association F.O.P. Lodge #26, A private organization that is not part of the Columbia Police Department. Although the CPOA is a lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, the organization claims not to be a labor union. The overwhelming majority of C.P.D. officers are members — I’ve heard 98%, but can’t back that up.
Before going any further, it is important to note that CPOA Executive Director Roberts is not a cop. According to KOMU, along with his position at the helm of the CPOA, Roberts is “currently the vice president of the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Citizen Alliance Alumni Association. In the past, Roberts served as the Assistant Chief of Investigations for the Missouri Department of Insurance, the director of a state-wide law enforcement agency and the Chief Judge of a 9-judge panel. He is also a former member of the Missouri Police Chief’s Association. Roberts has been an adjunct assistant professor with the University of Missouri for more than 20 years, teaching law courses.”
The screen shot above comes on the heels of some rather unbecoming comments made on the official CPOA Facebook page, comments that were called satire by some, including Roberts, and racist by others, including Mayor Bob McDavid after the post made national news.
Here is what McDavid had to say…
Roberts did issue a formal apology saying, “Although intended to be satirical in nature, the post was taken out of context and perceived to be quite different than intended.”
After the armored personnel carrier comment made national news, the CPOA Facebook page was overrun with comments from outraged folks around the country. Those comments were promptly (and wisely) purged along with other mildly offensive posts.
Interestingly, as of tonight, 3/27/2013, posts like this one were still active.
Today, Ashley Cuttle, the paid director of the local police labor union, the CPOA, renewed and doubled down on her attack on Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton. Burton has done his best to reform a troubled department despite the foot-dragging of veteran officers. Change never comes easy, especially in government, but when the pant-suited pit bull Cuttle is leading the charge against that change, there is a recipe for trouble.
To assist her in her character and career assassination of Burton, Cuttle has enlisted the help of labor leader Kevin Albrand, President of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. The two appeared on the Gary Nolan Show following their meeting with Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Mathes where they lobbied for Burton’s termination.
Mitch Richards of Keep Columbia Free called the show and artfully challenged the legitimacy of the CPOA argument during the second half of the radio segment. You can stream to the radio interviewHERE or go directly to the mp3 download by clicking HERE.
While the CPOA has fought Burton at every turn, the real attack started after Burton fired Rob Sanders. Sanders was fired following his brutal assault of an unarmed and detained suspect after which he laughed about the incident as the suspect writhed on the floor in agony stemming from a broken neck.
Please show your support of Chief Burton by signing our online petition. Click HERE to go to the petition.
Here is the video of the brutal attack at the hands of Rob Sanders.
It looks like Keep Columbia Free has worked its way under the skin of the police brutality apologists. This is a screen-shot from a Facebook page run by disgruntled ex-CPD officers. It’s a little flattering to have made their hit list alongside the Chief of Police, the City Manager, and the Editor of the Tribune.
Keep Columbia VP, Abhi Sivasailam, is featured in this ABC 17 news story talking about why we support Chief Burton.
Here’s another video of former officer Rob Sanders in action. This time he’s not violently assaulting an unarmed, detained citizen, but he is harassing local police watchdogs, Citizens for Justice , instead of serving and protecting the public…
A few days ago at a local holiday party I was introduced to an area law enforcement officer, not an officer of the CPD. I was actually a bit surprised and somewhat flattered when she told me that she reads this blog. After a bit of casual conversation, this officer made the comment that the Columbia Police Department is “dirty — one of the dirtiest departments” she’s encountered in her many years working in law enforcement. After making this statement she made it clear that her comments were strictly off the record.
In fact, she was afraid of the repercussions that would come her way for making such a statement. The good-ol’-boy, fraternal, police union, us v. them atmosphere in law enforcement should be frightening to us all. There are good officers who cannot speak publicly about corruption for fear of losing their career of even their life. Even First Ward City Councilman Fred Schmidt expressed a fear of reprisal from the local police after making statements condemning a recent act of police brutality. (click HERE to skip to 3:10 in this video to hear what Fred has to say about his fear)
It is time that the citizens of Columbia realize the high costs of allowing this canker of cop corruption to continue to fester as it has for the last forty years.
A source very close to the Baker camp told KCF that there is a gag order in place and the settlement was actually $750,000 along with an agreement to drop all pending charges against Baker, including his failure to pay child support which he will presumably now be able to pay with our tax dollars.
So, besides the obvious monetary costs, keeping a violent bully like Rob Sanders on the force for the past 18 years has not only cost we the taxpayers, three quarters of a million dollars, it has allowed a noted, dangerous miscreant, Kenneth Baker, to freely walk the streets among us instead of remaining behind bars where he obviously belongs. Columbia is a more dangerous place, in more ways than one, thanks to Rob Sanders and officers like him.
And Sanders, his wife, his ex-cop buddies, and the CPOA thugs have the gall to condemn Burton for firing Sanders and demand that Sanders be reinstated as an officer. If Sanders wants his job back, he should start by coughing up $750,000. I want my money back!
Sanders should have been fired years ago along with any other officer who thinks and acts like him. Let’s hope that any remaining officers who subscribe to the Sander school of police work have the moral wherewithal to change their ways or face immediate termination by Chief Burton.
If you are interested in supporting Chief Burton in his battle to reform our police department against the will of the police unions, pleasesign this petition.
The recentCitizens Police Review Boardpublic hearing and subsequentwork sessionwas nothing short of entertaining. Outside of Bill Easley’s cantankerous rant andMarlon Jordan‘s “klan” theatrics,the public hearing was moving. The overwhelming majority of the nearly 80 in attendance, and the 15 or 20 folks who addressed the board in 3 minute increments, were there to ask that the board reject the changes proposed by Chief Burton and theColumbia Police Officers Association. [See ourprevious blogon the proposed changes] There were a handful of seats occupied by current and former police officers or police volunteers,two of whom addressed the board in support of Chief Burton and the CPOA, but there were no civilians who voiced approval for the ordinance change.
When the public hearing came to a close, after a 30 minute extension, the board’s work session began with an invitation for Chief Burton and CPOA representatives, Eric Dearmont and Ashley Cuttle to take a seat on the stage. Much to the chagrin of the citizens in the crowd, public comment was stifled as these three were given unlimited time to rebut and refute any and all input from the public.
It is important to note that while the Chief is a public employee and an argument could be made for him having a seat in the work session, neitherEric Dearmont norAshley Cuttleare public employees and are instead paid employees of the CPOA. The CPOA, while comprised of citizens employed as police officers and attorneys hired to represent them, is not a public entity. It is a private organization, not subject to sunshine laws or official public scrutiny. In reality, the CPOA is no different than any of the other reputable organizations that were in attendance at the hearing and limited to only 3 minutes of input each.
The message sent by allowing the CPOA unlimited and unrebutted input into the proceedings is undeniable. The review board has been labeled as sympathetic to the police since its inception, and allowing the CPOA a bully pulpit at a work session only serves to bolster the label. The reaction from the crowd in attendance was also undeniable as eruptions of vocal discord periodically interrupted the work sessions with shouts of “bullshit” (disguised as sneezes) and loud demands for public rebuttal to the misleading and outright false claims made by both the Chief and the CPOA.
In an interesting turn, one board member, Susan Smith, who this blogger previously derided as a police stooge, heroically stood her ground against the unencumbered onslaught from Chief Burton and the CPOA, and forcefully repelled the attack with well reasoned arguments. This180 degree about face caused several jaws to drop in the audience. It was a truly pivotal moment as Ms. Smith informed the Chief that it was the City Council and not the CPRB who had already ruled on who might have standing in front of the board so asking for another change would be futile. Not only had the City Council ruled on standing, they had broadened the scope of who can file a complaint after the board suggested it be tightened. Smith made it clear that the board would not be making the same request twice. Ms. Smith went on to point out the many holes in how the Chief described the board’s rulings. Kudos to you, Ms. Smith.
There were two more vocal heroes who piped up during the work session. Betty Wilson continued her stalwart support of the citizenry as she made it clear that she was having none of what the Chief and the CPOA were offering. Even Rose Wibbenmeyer, in her role as city legal council for the board, pointed out why a charter city like Columbia does not need to adhere to State definitions of misconduct and went on to refute several other disingenuous legal arguments made by Eric Dearmont. Rose maintained her professional distance and did not offer an opinion,merely facts.
Even newcomer and former LAPD officer, Roger Dowis, challenged a few of the Chief’s points, seemingly finding his voice on the board. Strangely, many for the other board members spoke only once, or for procedural rules of order, or not at all.
Enjoy a few videos from the hearing, most of which are courtesy of the amazing folks over atCitizens for Justice.