A complaint against the Columbia Police Department alleging that the department has violated state law was recently jointly filed filed with the City Clerk by Citizens For Justice and Americans For Forfeiture Reform. Citizens For Justice is a local police watchdog group know for filming encounters with law enforcement. Americans For Forfeiture Reform is a national group, founded in Columbia, MO, that works to expose civil asset forfeiture abuses and reform asset forfeiture laws.
From the complaint:
“The Columbia Police Department failed to submit the required annual report/audit detailing their use of the federal forfeiture system for the year of 2011, to the Missouri State Auditor (and likely the Missouri Department of Public Safety). This report was due January 31, 2012.
“The consequence for failing to file this report, as clearly stated in the referenced statute, is that the Columbia Police Department is ineligible to receive funding from the Missouri Department of Public Safety (MODPS).
“Although the MODPS has thus far failed to comply with my request for a record of all funds issued to the CPD for the years of 2011 and 2012, I can tell you from my past research that the liquor compliance checks initiative is being ran by CPD, using of [sic] funds allocated through the MODPS.
“Accepting funding from the MODPS for this, as well as other programs, while simultaneously failing to file these reports, means that the CPD is violating the statutes 2-fold.”
Update — A few weeks after filing the complaint, MODPS confirmed that no reports had been filed by the CPD and the CPD was actively using MODPS funds to facilitate four separate programs.
You can read the entire complaint with supporting documentation and statements from both CFJ and AFR here. If the embedded document is not big enough for your device, click the link at the top and you will be taken to a larger version of the PDF.
The CPD, Boone County Prosecutor, and the Boone County Sheriff have all been in the news lately for asset forfeiture actions and questionable weapons seizures….
The illegal gun lawsuit has prompted attorney Stephen Wyse to post this message asking for other victims to come forward.
Add the CFJ/AFR complaint to this list. Will Chris Koster step in?