Tag Archives: Columbia

Fred Schmidt Betrays First Ward

During Monday night’s Columbia City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to provide funding for government surveillance cameras in Downtown Columbia. For most of us who have followed the camera debate, the “yes” votes from the establishment voting block comprised of McDavid, Dudley, Kespohl, and Thornhill, three of whom rode the crime/fear/camera stalking horse into office, came as no surprise. Even Anthony’s vote was predictable and Hoppe’s not too surprising.

It was Fred Schmidt who shocked the crowd with his vote in favor of the cameras as he fell lock-step in line with the empirically baseless, pro-camera, establishment zeitgeist that has affected many Columbians outside the First Ward. The First Ward, represented by Schmidt, voted overwhelmingly against the camera initiative in April of 2010. Fred even campaigned on his opposition to the downtown cameras during his run for the First Ward seat as evidenced by this excerpt from the Columbia Missourian.

All four First Ward candidates opposed the installation of downtown cameras — a result of Proposition 1, a ballot initiative that won approval in the April 2010 municipal election. A majority of First Ward voters rejected the proposition in that election.

“The voters spoke on this,” Schmidt said. “The city overwhelmingly voted for them. Ward one voted overwhelmingly against them.” He noted the cameras are a “perception of safety.”

And this excerpt from Fred’s own campaign website:

I do not support the city’s widespread use of surveillance cameras in downtown Columbia, especially when downtown is singled out as the location, in spite of crime being much more prevalent in other locations. I do support the use of surveillance cameras being installed by private businesses and the public installation of cameras in public facilities, such as parking garages or city buildings. This stance, I believe, is a more restrictive use of cameras but one that upholds current legislation as passed by voters.

This about face from Fred “Flip-Flop” Schmidt begs the question… “why?” Fred did raise quite a bit of money for a First Ward campaign, spending $12,403.12 on his candidacy. Even in local elections, money comes with strings attached. Is somebody pulling Fred’s strings?

It could also be that Fred simply told a lie. Perhaps Fred is planning a career in politics and is simply practicing his forked tongue technique for the day when he moves up to the big leagues. Lying seems to be a requirement for both Democrat and Republican politicians.

The saddest part of the situation is that just when the First Ward needs a strong voice on the council the most, their new representative, Fred Schmidt, shows his true colors as an authoritarian establishment shill.

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Burton’s Chickens Come Home To Roost

Last winter, when the Dresner/Haden extra-marital cop love affair came to light, I took a little heat from local progressive aficionado, Mark Haim, for both the tone of my blog and the assertions I made regarding the impact the affair may have had on the department. What Mr. Haim didn’t know is that many folks in the community knew about the affair and, upon hearing the story, the rest of us made an educated guess based upon the number of times the couple was seen together around town sharing knowing looks and furtive smiles. Certainly the investigative experts in the department came to the same conclusion.

I’ve blogged three times on the subject HERE and HEREand HERE

Now it appears that I may have been closer to the mark than even I myself thought. Brennan David over that the Columbia Tribune has reported that Haden has filed a complaint against Police Chief Burton alleging that he violated her privacy by disclosing her identity.

The Human Resources Department is reviewing the allegation, made by ex-department spokeswoman Jessie Haden in her Feb. 8 resignation letter in which she said Burton effectively “bartered” away her identity to a KOMU reporter to make an information request “go away.”

So what exactly is Burton hiding? Why not simply release the emails?

Read Haden’s letter of resignation HERE

Even old dirty Tom chimed in in defense of his honey:

Haden and Dresner — who still are a couple — say Burton was sympathetic to their situation at first, and they were “dumbfounded” by the chief’s decision to move Haden to patrol and release her name.

“There are certain actions that fall into the category of things a police chief just can’t do, or any public-sector official, for that matter,” Dresner said. “And that is causing a Sunshine request to go away with an exclusive interview for the media outlet that made the request, hours before everyone else was even notified.”

“While I make no claim as to my impartiality regarding the players, the way he did what he did to her is demonstrative of what he’s willing to do when he gets in a jam,” Dresner said.

Is this simply a pattern of CYA from Chief Burton?

A Tarrant County, Texas, grand jury declined to indict Burton on a complaint of abuse of official capacity in connection with an officer’s purchase of a motorcycle that later was determined to be for personal use. Burton fired the whistle-blower, but the person later was reinstated. Burton told the commission the whistle-blower was fired for an unrelated incident.

Perhaps a KCF sunshine request for those precious emails is in order.

Another interesting tidbit is the release of the Haden resignation letter to the media. There’s an anti-Burton rat somewhere in the department. It makes me wonder if it is the same person who sent the anonymous press release regarding the affair last December.

This trail of lies and deciet leading to the highest ranks in our police department casts a shadow of doubt on every piece of information the department presents to the public. The department has demonstrated their willingness to censor legitimate public comment in an open forum to keep their P.R. machine rolling. Remember, these are the public employees, armed with sub-machine guns and paid by our tax dollars, whom we are supposed to trust to protect and serve our community.

Something tells me this saga is far from over.

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New Columbia Police SWAT Video

Our friends at The Show-Me Institute obtained this video of a Columbia Police Department S.W.A.T. raid that took place in 2008. This raid took place before the era of Police Chief Ken Burton and the S.W.A.T. reforms he instituted following the famous botched raid on Kinloch Ct.

The first four minutes is footage of the police driving to the location of the raid, so hang on. 

 

A couple of things stand out.

Chief Burton admitted that mistakes were made during the lead up to the famous Feb. 2009 Kinloch Ct raid. Those mistakes included a lack of surveillance that would have alerted the officers to the presence of a young child in the home. 

In this new video, several young children are present. Was a lack of surveillance to ensure the safety of children standard operating procedure and not a “mistake” for the CPD prior to Chief Burton’s policy changes?

There is a very telling statement made at the 7:30 mark in the video. The officer is in the bathroom with an extremely docile and confused elderly woman when he says, “We’re just going to put you in handcuffs for right now just so we can control you.”  He then handcuffs the old woman.

I’m not suggesting that this officer violated any policy, but handcuffing an innocent old woman simply to “control” her sends chills up my spine.

Thankfully, Chief Burton has taken some baby steps toward S.W.A.T. reform, but paramilitary police raids on family homes take place all over the country, every day. In that context, his baby-steps seem giant.

I recommend you read Radley Balko’s white paper, “Overkill.”  Balko is the nation’s foremost expert on paramilitary S.W.A.T. raids.

Thanks to the folks over at Americans for Forfeiture Reform for their help with this video.

Mark Flakne

***UPDATE***

Erica Warren over at COMOCITIZENS has located the warrant and the accompanying Tribune story regarding this raid. This was a narcotics search warrant served at 1002 Madison, Columbia.

Here is a picture of the address from Google.

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