CPOA Responds to City Manager's Call to Remove Executive Director

Aug 12, 2015

Credit Mike Matthes / City of Columbia website

An attorney representing the Columbia Police Officer's Association (CPOA) sent a letter to City Manager Mike Matthes today asking him to rescind a request to remove the association's executive director, Dale Roberts.

On Sunday, Roberts shared a post on the association's Facebook page that said "Darren Wilson Day, August 9th." Darren Wilson was the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson last year. Sunday was the anniversary of Brown's death.

The post sparked a protest on Monday outside of the Columbia Police Department.

The association has since removed the post, but replaced it with another, saying that the "CPOA supports Officer Darren Wilson and all law enforcement officers who endure similar situations."

In an email to the mayor and city council members, Matthes called the post "particularly vile."

In that email, he recounts his request to CPOA board members that the organization end Robert's employment. Additionally he says he will not recommend any future ballot to add officers to the police department while Roberts is employed by the CPOA.

Roberts says that while he regrets how the post was received by the public, Matthes' statement on ballot measures is not the appropriate response.

"It doesn't punish me, it punishes the citizens of Columbia," Roberts said.

Additionally, the letter says that Matthes' actions may infringe upon police officers' rights to choose representation for collective bargaining.

The letter requests that Matthes rescind his demands in another email to all recipients of the previous one email.