Cop Fired for Shoving Man Head-First into Wall Says He Deserves to Be Back in Uniform

Categories: Crime, Police

rob_sanders.JPG
Youtube/Columbia Daily Tribune
Ex-Cop Rob Sanders pushes Kenneth Baker into the wall.
In August of 2011, Columbia police officer Rob Sanders charged at Kenneth Baker, an inmate standing in a holding cell, causing his head to smack against the wall. The police brutality incident was caught on the jail's surveillance video and ended up costing the city $250,000 in an out-of-court settlement. It also cost Sanders his job -- but he wants it back.

Sanders has been fighting for his job ever since Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton showed him the door back in 2011. Since then, he has been rejected by Burton and Columbia city manager Mike Matthes. Burton claims Sanders' actions were inexcusable and he should have handled it differently while Matthes tells the Columbia Daily Tribune that, "We're not trying to make it harder on Rob to find a job...We're also not interested in having him back with the city."

Sanders is now appealing that decision and is in court this week for oral arguments.

According to various reports, the 2011 incident started when Baker was arrested and on the way to jail, put up enough resistance that officers sprayed him with mace. Baker eventually calmed down and was put into a cell. The sink in the cell was not working and he had repeatedly asked for water to rinse out his eyes. Some time around that point, Sanders busted into the cell and charged Baker, who fell back against the wall, hit his head, and suffered a broken vertebrae. Sanders then got on top of Baker and handcuffed him. The incident was caught on video, which can be seen below:

An internal affairs investigation concluded that Sanders didn't do anything wrong -- a conclusion that Columbia police chief Burton strongly disagreed with. According to The Maneater:

"An unfounded conclusion means that the incident never occurred," Burton said in a 2011 radio interview. "Well, if you look at the (surveillance) video, it obviously occurred, so 'unfounded' wasn't the right classification. It was an assault. Pure and simple. Had that happened on Tenth and Broadway, were we talking about two college students, one of them would be in jail, and we wouldn't even be talking about it. It was assault, it was unnecessary, unwarranted and it saddened me."

Police groups have stood up for Sanders, who they say should be given back his badge and gun.

See also: Missouri is a National Leader in Prison Rape, Including Staff-on-Inmate Assaults

Kevin Ahlbrand, the president of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police told KBIA in 2011: "It wasn't intentional for the person to be injured. The intent was to take him to the ground and handcuff him to the ring, which is the past practice and policy."

Sanders stood trial in October of last year for a third-degree assault charge because of the incident and was found not guilty. That verdict is being used as evidence that he was wrongly terminated and acted appropriately.

sanders.JPG
Dale Roberts
Sanders says he just followed procedure.

Sanders had 18 years on the force at the time of the 2011 incident. According to the Columbia Police Department website, police officers are eligible for retirement after 25 years, at which point they're eligible for 50 percent of their highest three-year average salary, in addition to benefits and other bonuses based on years on the force.

The question of whether or not Sanders should be a cop again is a matter of procedure and politics. But another story that arose from the incident is that of the ex-cop's dog, which was a police dog officially owned by the police department.

As Daily RFT reported last year, Sanders was eventually able to get custody of the german shepherd after 18 months of legal wrangling.

See also: East St. Louis Man Sues Crooked Ex-Cop, Claims Rape Confession Was Coerced

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.

My Voice Nation Help
37 comments
dreamx87
dreamx87

It doesn't take a genius to see how biased this article is. Up-vote it if you can relate to what is going on here. Let's examine more closely the events discussed here.

Ok, so a cop throws a man into a wall head first and gets fired. Wait a minute. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. If you were to smash a mans head into the wall like that where do you think you would be right now? That's right, you would 9 out of 10 be paying a big fine and serving a good amount of time in a good old fashioned cell. Your employer then would fire you because clearly we don't want people like you representing our company yadayada yada I could go on. 

No, no, no Daniel. You have it all wrong. Oh really? Well let us see the investigative ability of Ray downs from the Riverfront Times. So first he discusses the opposition. Fair enough let's see what they have to say.


"Kevin Ahlbrand, the president of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police told KBIA in 2011: 'It wasn't intentional for the person to be injured. The intent was to take him to the ground and handcuff him to the ring, which is the past practice and policy.'"


Good, so now we know that in prison the practice of handcuffing involves throwing a blind mans head into a wall and breaking his vertebrae. I'm a little worried that his intent is being misconstrued. Now wait a minute Dan, he wasn't obeying instructions and got pepper sprayed, then when he gave them more flak they lightly tossed his head into the pillow cushioned cement wall as a show of force. No harm done, honest! Well i'm not dumb, and neither are you. This video does not provide enough insight to what was the cause that lead them to pepper spray him, and MOST IMPORTANTLY. THE MEANS DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE END. Does not obeying orders give him the right to smash peoples heads in and break their necks? This article needs to step up it's tone. I guess it's time to take a look at what the opposition has to say about this. Wait for it... wait for it... Geez we're running out of paragraphs here. Oh! Here we are, better late than never I always say!


"The question of whether or not Sanders should be a cop again is a matter of procedure and politics. But another story that arose from the incident is that of the ex-cop's dog, which was a police dog officially owned by the police department."


What seriously? PROCEDURE? POLITICS? Since when did smashing a mans head into a wall just become a matter of procedure and politics? We're talking about a mans life for christ sake! WHAT DOES THE DOG HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING HERE??? I don't care about the damn dog! I wan't to know what the opposition is discussing, and you mislead the final statement by redirecting my attention to his dog? Oh please, I mean My brain isn't made of cabbage just yet (I hope you readers are keeping your wits too). Now wait a minute Dan, you just read them discussing how the police chief fired him, they already interviewed the other side. WRONG! In fact this is the underlying problem, they pit 1 police chief against everyone else saying the "crime" in question was not really criminal intent, or as an internal affairs investigation concluded "Sanders didn't do anything wrong". Now who looks like he's losing his marbles? But nobody in their right mind would believe that would they? Exactly, and that is the point. This is a keen example of how they try to downplay the police chiefs statement via multiple other authorities, then redirect your attention to matters of no consequence to get your mind off of what is important here. Just think of it like American news discussing 1 lost airplane over malaysian waters as a smokescreen for Russian invasions. And I am thoroughly disappointed that the only person shown here to have a mild sense of whats going on is the police chief that fired him. No other supporters of his cause to be seen here in this article. This article is a biased disgrace. But enough, I said my peace. What to expect from mainstream media anyways.

Smok Eingspirit
Smok Eingspirit

every arrest equals a failure if a teacher keeps failing its students its time to replace the teacher

Chris M. Jessen
Chris M. Jessen

I don't think giving this man his dog is a good idea. He obviously has anger issues and I would fear for the safety of the animal. Perhaps he needs some sort of rehabilitation program, behind bars.

Jimmy Houston
Jimmy Houston

Cant believe the officer was only charged with 3rd degree assault and found not guilty either. Also what are the stature and limitations on providing medical care after a criminal defendant has been pepper sprayed? Conners, did Creve Coure have a policy on this? I remember in the army we had had to provide aid afterwards, but obviously these are two different worlds.

Grant Martin
Grant Martin

Just no call for this. As a wise man once said "Jackbooted thugs"

James Crane
James Crane

You're right, and I bit my tongue not to mention that in my original post. but you seem to see through more the bullshit and understand what's going on with the job and the situation as a whole. I didn't think i could say what you said and make the point I wanted to make....if any of that makes sense to ya.

Doug Bishop
Doug Bishop

Remember this guy was pepper sprayed. They only pepper spray guys for aggressive behavior. Then he wouldn't shut up afterwards. And the suspect is still in prison so he's guilty of something.

doublekickoriginal1
doublekickoriginal1 topcommenter

Any pig that would do that to me better be on the run after i get out!! Simple!

Blaine Hudson
Blaine Hudson

Looks like there is more to the story than what was put out. Obviously in this man is older than a student. The other it looks like he got pepper sprayed and he still looked combative verbally. I really cant tell with out audio and the first half of clip. We can all assume but dont know why the guys is there in the first place. This part of the clip seems a bit overboard. We all make bad decisions looks like they both did or we wouldn't have a discussion opinion on this.

Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks

Looks highly uncalled for from just this clip. But I would like to know the inmates behavior before he got pepper sprayed, AND if there were any former complaints against this officer before this incident. I'd say most likely guilty but there could be more to the case.

Jorge Rodriguez Rodriguez Ruxin
Jorge Rodriguez Rodriguez Ruxin

No he doesn't. Bully with a badge. But then, cops always get away with shit...look at the dickbump that killed those two girls on 64 a few years ago...speeding...texting, etc....had it been a civilian....manslaughter. jail. Fucked.

Shashi Hemchand
Shashi Hemchand

This po po thinks following procedure is to break vertebrae

Walt Barrier
Walt Barrier

In Missouri, if a first degree assault results in serious physical injury, such as a serious head injury, the crime is a Class A felony which is punishable by 10 to 30 years, or even life in prison. Mr. Sanders lost his job.

Ashley Montes
Ashley Montes

From what the article and the video show, nothing the inmate did warranted this. That cop was just abusing his power and ego in an abusive manner. He got what he deserved.

njdeas
njdeas

I commend Columbia police chief Burton for not going along to get along!! This needs to happen to more officers who showed brutality. Thanks for cracking the blue wall of silence and cover-ups!

Devin BobaFett Butler
Devin BobaFett Butler

The pig messed up working at a donut shop is the closest he should get to working wit fellow officers

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Part of being a Police Officer is not getting out of control. A Police Officer job is suppose to be to maintain order and keep the peace. If a Police Officer can't be trusted to keep themselves in check why should we trust them to do the same with others?

James Crane
James Crane

So proper procedure, as the officer said he was following, is to subdue a pepper sprayed inmate trying to get water for his eyes? LEO's (Law Enforcement Officers) have a very, very hard job, but they enter into that agreement upon sign up. You're going to get proverbially shit on, cussed at, swung on, hated from all sides, you're going to have to put up with every angle of the gross under belly that a city has to offer, and more than likely, nobody is going to tell you good job. In-fact you'll probably be told the complete opposite from a lot of folks. But it's up to each and every LEO to remain calm and not act out in violent, aggressive ways, especially against NON-violent people.

Andycrossett
Andycrossett

So this Jack Ass gets $250,000 for running his mouth while in custody.

As far as I'm concerned, he deserved getting "roughed up".  In the good old days, he probably would have gotten much more from the police.  In this era of cameras, its very tough for the police to do their job.

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

No, you really don't. Watch the video. Read the story. The cop is a thug of the worst kind and has no business hiding behind a badge.

Rachel Roach
Rachel Roach

There was no need for him coming in and shoving him like that..I have no clue what the inmate did prior to get arrested but..he obviously didn't deserve what the cup did..yes, he deserves to lose his job after that..

Rick Meyer
Rick Meyer

I know I would not want to deal with that officer and would never want my son to have to either. He definately got the minimum punishment acceptable by losing his job. He needs to be glad he is not on probation for assault and move on

John Foster
John Foster

What if this were your son, brother or friend getting slammed into a wall after being pepper sprayed? I saw enough to say the young man was no threat. The cop is an asshole. Mr Tough Guy. Go work at McDonalds.

James Crane
James Crane

we all make mistakes, but LEO's need to be held to a higher stander than the rest of us. you should not be allowed any 2nd chances.

Jesse Rehmer
Jesse Rehmer

His career should be over and he should be in jail. I have no idea how he was able to win the dog, but he should not have that either. Of course the internal investigation didn't reveal anything, the internal investigators are just as corrupt and want to protect cops at all cost.

PressedNews
PressedNews

Other cops backing him up tells you all you need to know about the "just a few bad apples" line. If "good cops" support and will lie for bad cops, then they're also corrupt. Kudos to the chief for having integrity in this case.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...