Trial underway for lawsuit against CPD for firing former officer

Trial underway for lawsuit against CPD for firing former officer

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A man fired from the Columbia Police Department after shoving and injuring someone in a holding cell will head to trial again to get his job back.

The legal battle over Rob Sanders' shove has been going on since 2011. His lawsuit against the city for firing him over the issue went to trial Wednesday in Boone County.

At Wednesday's trial, both sides were given to Judge Dennis Allen Rolf, including footage of the incident that occurred Aug. 15, 2011 against Kenneth Baker.   

Sander's attorney said how Sanders behaved was according to protocol and it is not ethical that Sanders was terminated and provided a lengthy statement to Rolf as Sanders sat beside him.
City of Columbia attorneys said according to city manager Mike Matthes, Sanders' final determination was final because Sanders violated 103.01 code of conduct 32 and city ordinance section 19-225.

Counsel with the city said on behalf of Matthes the termination was not arbitrary, not capricious nor unconstitutional.

According to the city’s attorney, manager Matthes' also took into consideration Sanders' prior behavior as a police officer with Columbia Police Department where he allegedly has 13 incidents and four suspensions.

The city's attorney said on Sanders' job application Sanders voluntarily put that he has public lewdness, urinating in public and sexual act on the job, but when he applied with the Jefferson City Police Department, counsel said he did not provide that on his 2014 application, expressing he has a record of poor behavior.

Sanders' attorneys said the post-termination misconduct mentioned above is irrelevant as the city's attorney was addressing Sanders behavior.

Day one of a three-day bench trial is set to continue Thursday at 9 a.m.


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