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Convicted felon removed from Police Chief Search Advisory Committee

Friday, July 25, 2008 | 6:06 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After much debate, Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins removed Darrell Foster from the Police Chief Search Advisory Committee on Friday, according to a news release.

Foster, 57, was convicted of four felonies in 1998 - unlawful use of a weapon, harassment, felonious restraint and first-degree child endangerment - according to Missouri Case.net.

Citizen Oversight Committee Chairman Rex Campbell said those who have been arrested could bring a fresh perspective to the board. Others, such as Donald Weaver, president of the Columbia Police Officers Association, said that people with felony convictions could "harbor deep-seeded resentment for police."

For his part, Foster said he brings a different perspective regarding police conduct to his position to the advisory committee helping to find a replacement for Randy Boehm, who left the position on July 1.

"They got a guy who knows how police treat people, how they should treat people and what's good for the community," Foster said.

Despite Foster's outlook, Watkins decided to pull him from the advisory committee in order to assure a fair search for a new police chief.

"In the interest of maintaining a neutral search process and assuring that his participation does not jeopardize his legal outcomes, I believe this is a prudent course of action," Watkins said in the release.

Watkins said he will be considering another individual to serve on the committee, which is scheduled to meet Aug. 7 to review outlines that have been compiled by the models subcommittee.

 


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Comments

Ro Sila July 26, 2008 | 11:03 a.m.

>>"They got a guy who knows how police treat people, how they should treat people and what's good for the community," Foster said.<<

Actually they got a guy who knows how the police treat and arrest criminals -- not a viewpoint that brings a lot to the table for law-abiding citizens.

(Report Comment)
Liz Mitchell July 27, 2008 | 10:31 a.m.

Are we to presume that anyone not convicted of a crime is worthy of an opinion about how police treat people but not those who have been subject to this treatment?
Perhaps Mr. Foster was not the ideal candidate. It's hard to tell. His convictions in 1997 sounds pretty egregious. However, I can also envision how these arose from a single incident, perhaps a misunderstanding or an escalation. We don't know the circumstances. We know that he was convicted, but we also know that justice in our country is not always even-handed. "Foster, 57, was convicted of four felonies in 1998 - unlawful use of a weapon, harassment, felonious restraint and first-degree child endangerment - according to Missouri Case.net." If this was his only major brush with the law, and it didn't happen until his mid to late forties, would it not be fair to wonder whether there was more to this story than this blurb can convey?
Poor people and people of color are disproportionately imprisoned while un-indicted corporate crooks who ruin the lives of millions of people enjoy their own million$ with impunity. Perhaps any businessperson on the proposed board should have all their deals scrutinized for legal or ethical lapses. What would (anonymous) current or former employees say? Was he/she a good boss? A tyrant? Volatile? Were they open to suggestions for improvement? Did former employees witness dishonest, unethical, or illegal activity? This would display a bias toward abuse of power.
Some of those who have been subject to our system of justice will certainly "harbor deep-seeded resentment for police." Maybe that sort of resentment needs to be considered when the police can hold so much power over our lives. One does not have to commit a crime to have an encounter with the police. Perhaps someone who has seen the worst does have something to offer.
If Mr. Foster is unacceptable, someone else should be included who has been on the other side of our justice system. Otherwise, we can only make guesses and assumptions about what it's really like to be the subject of police attention.

(Report Comment)
Theresa Howe July 29, 2008 | 12:10 p.m.

I completely agree with the previous statements. It's reported Foster, 57, was convicted of four felonies in 1998 - unlawful use of a weapon, harassment, felonious restraint and first-degree child endangerment (sounds like a domestic to me and whom wouldn't do what ever the deem necessary if it was in regards to your child). I don't know his case personally but to me it sounds like he's already paid his debt to society and hopefully learned his lesson - seems he has because he hasn't had anymore problems with the police. Whom among us hasn't done something wrong in our life time or more specifically in the last 10 years that we wish we could take back or make better decisions. People who point fingers should make sure their own hands are clean.

(Report Comment)

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