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Columbia police release Taser records

Friday, October 31, 2008 | 1:01 p.m. CDT; updated 2:23 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 31, 2008

The Columbia Police Department released hundreds of pages of its Taser-use records on Friday morning, fulfilling a Missouri Sunshine Law request and an order from Mayor Darwin Hindman to make the information available to the public.

The 910-page document includes police reports from 49 of the 69 instances of Taser deployment documented by the department, as well as

  • descriptions of disciplinary actions taken against officers for misuse of Tasers;
  • a listing of all instances of use of force since 2002;
  • and a number of Taser-policy documents.

Twenty reports were not released because they are considered closed records for various reasons including involvement with a juvenile or an ongoing investigation.

The release of information should satisfy a request for records submitted to Columbia police in August by Grass Roots Organizing, a Missouri-based advocacy group. The Police Department initially told the group that it would cost $883 for access to the records, money that would be used to pay for the staff time necessary to complete the request.

But earlier this month, Hindman intervened and told the Police Department to send the information to the City Council, which would then make it available to the public free of charge.

According to an agenda posted on its Web site, the City Council plans to discuss the Taser records at its meeting on Nov. 3.

A copy of the report can be viewed at the City Clerk's office or picked up at the Columbia Police Department. The document is being made available on CD.

Check back with the Missourian for more information.


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