COLUMBIA — Appeals of complaints to the Citizens Police Review Board are now limited to alleged victims, their family, friends or attorneys, witnesses of alleged misconduct, and any resident of Boone County.
In a unanimous decision, the Columbia City Council voted Monday to amend the previously ambiguous law allowing anyone to file an appeal with the Citizens Police Review Board. The intent is to eliminate appeals from people outside the community.
Before the vote, several residents in a public hearing raised concerns including potential limitations of checks on police power and the prematurity of the amendment.
Eric Dearmont of the Columbia Police Officers Association voiced his organization’s appreciation of the amendment, but said he worried about the provision allowing any Columbia resident to file an appeal.
“We view the fourth prong to be a little expansive yet,” Dearmont said.
The amendment originally permitted only an alleged victim, his or her family, or Columbia residents to file an appeal. Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill, however, suggested attaching an amendment allowing alleged victims’ friends, attorneys and Boone County residents the ability to file an appeal.
“This is a proactive attempt to fix something that’s probably a flaw in the ordinance,” Thornhill said.
The amendment to the current ordinance was filed after Ed Rosenthal, a marijuana legislation reform activist from California, filed a complaint in response to the Feb. 11 SWAT raid.