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columbia police department

Mother Files $2.4 Million Suit Against Columbia Schools and Police

Feb 14, 2020

Kandas Holmes-Barnes filed a lawsuit in late January for $2.4 million collectively against Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia Police Department as a response to the wrongful arrest of her daughter at Smithton Middle School in January 2019.

A police car sits outside a local school.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

The event room in Papadoo’s Soul Food restaurant is particularly busy on Nov. 2 in the afternoon. With plastic forks and napkins in hand, community members stand in line as they eagerly wait to load up their paper plates with fried chicken and fruit salad. 

Once seated at their tables, attendees of the event launch into small talk about school and work life. However, that’s not what they are there to discuss. They are there to brainstorm ways to keep their children safe from violence happening in their schools and neighborhoods.

Student Jogging Across Columbia Street Hit and Killed

Dec 9, 2019
Columbia Police Department vehicle
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Police in Columbia say a 21-year-old University of Missouri student has died after being hit by a vehicle while trying to cross at city street.

Police say in news release that Logan Warnecke was running across College Avenue around 7 p.m. Friday when he was hit by a sport utility vehicle.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Police say the 21-year-old driver of the SUV was not hurt. Officials say no arrests have been made or charges brought in the case.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Columbia Police Department logo on CPD car.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

After spending eight days in a tree to protest construction of a mid-Missouri nature trail, activist Sutu Forte has been arrested.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Columbia authorities on Tuesday removed Forte from the tree by using a fire truck's hydraulic bucket. She was handcuffed and taken to jail, but released a short time later.

City Says Police Trip to Civil Rights Museum Cost Nearly $9,000

Oct 10, 2019
Meiying Wu / KBIA

The Columbia Police Department's recent overnight trip to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., cost $6,000 more than the city's previous stated estimate. 

Police Chief Promises to Do Better After Wrongful Arrest at Smithton Middle School

Sep 9, 2019
Columbia Police Department logo on CPD car
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones on Friday said the arrest of a Smithton Middle School student in January came as a result of an investigation that "was not thorough."

CPD Officer Faces Discipline for Wrongful Arrest at Smithton Middle School

Sep 6, 2019
Columbia Police Department logo on CPD car
Meiying Wu / KBIA

A Columbia police officer has been disciplined over the wrongful arrest of a Smithton Middle School student whose mother contended she was targeted because of her race.

Police spokesman Jeff Pitts confirmed in an email that Officer Tony Ash “received discipline” after the Columbia Police Department’s Internal Affairs office sustained a complaint from the mother. Pitts did not provide further details about the nature of the disciplinary action and noted that both Ash and the mother “will have the opportunity to appeal the outcome.”

Meiying Wu / KBIA

A former Columbia police officer was sentenced to five years of probation and 300 hours of community service for selling steroids in 2016.

Thirty-seven-year-old Gamal Castile pleaded guilty in June to two counts of possession of steroids.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Castile was given a suspended sentence, meaning the conviction will not be on his record if he successfully completes probation.

The Westboro Baptist Church will be coming to Columbia on Monday Feb. 25 to protest outside Stephens College.

They cite Stephens’ policy of admitting non-binary and transgender women.

The church has a permit to protest on public property around Stephens College’s campus, but not on it.

The Columbia Police Department will have an officer monitoring the situation.

Community Relations Specialist Jefferey Pitts emphasized that CPD will be respecting everyone’s first amendment rights.

Meiying Wu / KBIA

The City of Columbia has named Lt. Geoff Jones as interim police chief, beginning Sunday, Feb. 3.


Jones joined the Department in 1998, and his first involvement with the department came as a Columbia Public Schools teenager when he volunteered as a cadet, according to a city press release.


Today’s announcement comes a few weeks after the resignation of former Columbia police chief Ken Burton, whose tenure was roiled by controversies surrounding the Department’s implementation of a city-wide community policing strategy.

City Considering Steps to Combat Spike in Shots Fired Downtown

Aug 14, 2018
Meiying Wu/KBIA

The crack of pool balls colliding on beaten felt tables is the typical soundtrack for a weekend night at Billiards on Broadway.

On Saturday, however, the soundtrack was interrupted by the blast of gunshots across the street.

Cody Fisher, server and bartender, said he heard several shots fired at the corner of Sixth Street and Broadway around 12:15 a.m. Saturday. Another bartender locked the door and alerted customers over the bar microphone.

“We’re going to lock these doors until we figure out what’s going on,” Fisher remembered the bartender saying.

Police Say Two Pedestrians Killed on Same Stretch of I-70

Feb 19, 2018
Meiying Wu

Police say two pedestrians have been killed in separate incidents on a two-mile stretch of Interstate 70 near Columbia in central Missouri.

Columbia police says 35-year-old Jerry Martin, of Florissant, was killed Saturday when he was hit by a vehicle as he walked along the interstate. Martin was killed. Police say the vehicle fled the scene, and officials continued Saturday evening to search for the car and driver.

Community Policing Resolution Sees City Council Support

Jan 17, 2018
File / KBIA

The Columbia City Council on Tuesday night discussed a draft resolution that would direct City Manager Mike Matthes to design a program, timeline and budget by June 30 for the Columbia Police Department’s transition to community-oriented policing. The council scheduled a vote for the resolution on Feb. 19 but plans to allot time for additional public commentary during the Feb. 5 meeting.

File / KBIA

A college education is no longer a requirement for new police officers in Columbia.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the city now mandates a high school diploma instead of at least 30 hours of college education — the equivalent of an associate's degree. City officials had discussed the change for some time before taking action in August.

Talking Politics: Police Chief Ken Burton Gives His Take on Racial Desparity in Traffic Stops

Sep 19, 2017

Traffic stop data released by the Missouri Attorney General's office shows a disparity between black and white drivers in Columbia, but not everyone agrees as to what the numbers mean.

Black drivers in Columbia were pulled over at a rate almost four times higher than white drivers in 2016.

Some local groups, like Race Matters, Friends, say this is clear evidence of racial profiling and called for changes in the police department. Some have even called for the resignation of Police Chief Ken Burton, who has voiced skepticism about the traffic stop data.

The Columbia Missourian’s Katherine Reed and Noah McGee spoke in-depth with Burton to get his take on the data and how the department can be improved.

Columbia police officers took a 15-year old male into custody Tuesday after receiving reports of the student threatening violence at a Columbia Public School.

According to a release from the Columbia Police Department, a rumor about a possible school shooting on the final day of classes was reported to a school resource officer for Muriel Battle High School.

Benjamin Goodger / Flickr

Every year, MoDOT asks all police departments to participate in the enforcement to encourage people to wear their seatbelts year long. Recent statistics from MoDOT show that 20 percent of Missouri drivers are not wearing seatbelts while driving.

Columbia Police Department spokesperson Latisha Stroer said that during the quarterly enforcement officers are more attentive to seatbelts.

Group Pushes for Police to Carry Overdose Drug

Feb 10, 2017
OpenFile Vancouver / Flickr

Columbia Police could be the next first responders to carry a life-saving drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

The Columbia Fire Department started carrying naloxone last month. The drug is more commonly known as Narcan. According to the Narcan website, the drug works by displacing opioid molecules, which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses like slowed breathing and unresponsiveness.

The Columbia Police Department has come under scrutiny for a claim Police Chief Ken Burton made during the July 19 City Council Meeting. Burton stated that he believed the Columbia Police Department did not racially profile its citizens.

Burton’s comment was challenged both by some council members and citizens at the meeting, including members of the group Race Matters, Friends, a group of organizers and activists working towards racial equity in Columbia.

“So the conversation became about the attorney general’s report on vehicle stop reports because that showed

7mary3 / FLICKR

This week on Intersection, we talk with  Sgt. Mike Hestir of the Columbia Police Department's Community Outreach Unit,  and Lorenzo Lawson, the executive director of the Youth Empowerment Zone.

We explore what community policing looks like in Columbia, how the Outreach Unit began and Hestir and Lawson's hopes for the future. 

Listen to the whole show here, and read brief excerpts from our interviews below. 

KOMU / Flickr

The Columbia Police Department’s Community Outreach Unit recently showed community members how the department is training police officers in regard to fair and impartial policing. 

Sgt. Mike Hestir, the Community Outreach Unit Supervisor, lead a training for the public on Saturday, to show how important it is to recognize implicit bias.

File / KBIA

  Four Columbia police officers involved in a fight with a man during an arrest have been cleared of violating the man's constitutional rights.

A federal judge last week cleared the officers of five accusations of civil rights violations and dismissed five other claims against them.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey also ruled in favor of police Chief Ken Burton and the city of Columbia on one count.

Columbia Police Department

An attorney for Moniteau County Prosecuting Attorney Shayne Healea says in a court filing that Columbia police violated state and federal laws when an officer made a video recording of a phone conversation between Healea and his attorney.

The officer, whose name has not been released, recorded the conversation after Healea was arrested in October 2014 when he backed his pickup truck into Addison's restaurant in Columbia, injuring four people.

Ben Brady / KBIA

Columbia's Downtown Community Improvement District plans to donate $23,140 to replace broken cameras in downtown Columbia.

The cost of the cameras totals $7,000 and the other $16,140 will be used to cover the cost of one year of data hosting for the camera system.

The executive director of the CID Katie Essing said the CID had a fiscal budget around $820,000 this year with $40,000 was allocated to public safety.

Columbia Police Department Focuses on Community Policing

Oct 14, 2016
Michael Carlson

Last week the Columbia Police Department launched a series of town hall meetings to improve police-community relations across Columbia.

Each meeting centered on policing in a specific department beat of Columbia. Most recently, Shepard Boulevard High School played host to one of those town hall meetings. The meeting centered around issues facing Southeast Columbia.

Columbia Police Department logo
File Photo / KBIA

  A union representing Columbia police officers is suing the city of Columbia after officials refused to release public records or asked "exorbitant" fees to fulfill the request.

The Columbia Police Officers Association sought emails between police Chief Ken Burton and Deputy Chief Jill Schlude from June 1 to July 22. The lawsuit says the city did not reply in a timely manner and then said it would cost nearly $840 to fulfill the request.


One officer said the Columbia Police Department won’t change its procedures much in response to Missouri’s new concealed carry regulations. Officer Jeff Forck spoke with local media an event Wednesday.

Missouri’s new regulations, which go into effect Jan. 1, will make it easier for Missourians to carry a concealed weapon.


Authorities have charged one man and are looking for another in a deadly Columbia shooting.

Eighteen-year-old Jadarius Sanders, of Columbia, was arrested and charged Thursday with suspicious of hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence. Bond is set at $100,000. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

Police said in a news release that authorities are looking for a second man on a felony warrant for second-degree murder.