COLUMBIA — One of the California residents who filed an appeal with Columbia's Citizens Police Review Board over the Feb. 11 SWAT raid is in Columbia to bring attention to their effort.
Angela Bacca, who is visiting Columbia, and Ed Rosenthal, who filed the appeal, are representatives of Green Aid, a medical marijuana defense and education fund. The group tries to use the court system to change marijuana laws.
The two originally filed a complaint with the police department, and later filed the appeal with the review board after Police Chief Ken Burton sent them a letter saying he had exonerated the officers involved in the Feb. 11 SWAT raid at 1501 Kinloch Court. During the raid in question, officers killed one dog and injured another family dog. A child was also present during the raid. Police found a small amount of marijuana in the house.
Being from California doesn't affect her concern about the SWAT raid, Bacca said, adding that she is from another state, not another country.
"I am an American," she said.
According to a previous Missourian article, during the review board's July 14 meeting, board member Susan Smith questioned Rosenthal's standing to file a complaint because he wasn't present during the raid. She also took issue with the fact that Rosenthal doesn't have a personal stake in the issue.
"The complainant admits that he only knew of the incident from a public Internet site that he voluntarily visited," Smith said during the meeting. "He has no known relationships to any parties in the incidents."
According to the city ordinance that established the review board, the board is supposed to review appeals from the police chief's decisions about alleged police misconduct. The ordinance makes no mention of jurisdiction or who can file an appeal.
Under the current ordinance, the review board has an obligation to hear the appeal, so focusing on her and Rosenthal's place of residence is a "total waste of time," said Bacca, the Green Aid media coordinator.
"I really wish they'd stop wasting their time talking about the fact that we're from (the state of) California," Bacca said.
Both Bacca and Rosenthal have been working with local attorney Dan Viets to get Columbia residents involved in the appeal. Viets, a representative of the Mid-Missouri American Civil Liberties Union, has collected local signatures to for an appeal to send to the review board. This local appeal is a separate appeal from the one Bacca and Rosenthal sent to the review board, Viets said.
He said it was necessary to create a separate, locally generate appeal in order to end the discussion about standing and "bring the discussion back to the topic of the Kinloch Court incident."
During her trip to Columbia, Bacca said she has met with city officials and activist groups, including Burton and representatives from the MU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The review board is scheduled to meet Aug. 4, to discuss the SWAT raid. Rosenthal plans to attend that meeting, Bacca said. He also plans to hold a rally outside the new city hall building following the meeting.