Fired Columbia officer not getting his job back

Rob Sanders fired for shoving unruly inmate in a holding cell

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes said on Thursday a former police officer is not getting his old job back.

Surveillance video showed Rob Sanders shoving the unruly inmate in a holding cell in August 2011 before other officers handcuffed him to a railing. The inmate, Kevin Baker, suffered a fractured vertebra and later reached a $250,000 settlement with the city.

Sanders was fired when Police Chief Ken Burton disagreed with an internal affairs report that said the officer acted in line with department policy. Sanders was acquitted of third-degree assault in October of this year.

In November, Sanders took his case before the city's personnel advisory board, and city manager Mike Matthes had 30 days to respond after getting the recommendation from the board.

The ultimate decision lied with Matthes, even though it was Chief Ken Burton who originally fired Sanders.

Chief Burton testified during the hearing last month, stating, "What I saw in the video, I could not imagine an excuse for it."

Burton also said he felt the internal affairs report was "botched," and claimed more factors than just the shoving incident contributed to Sanders' firing.

Sanders also stood before the board stating his innocence and reasonable use of force.

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