Board gathers information on police misconduct complaint

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | 10:55 p.m. CDT; updated 4:06 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 28, 2010

COLUMBIA — Members of the Citizens Police Review Board left their meeting Wednesday night in cliffhanger style, saying they will not decide to take action on a complaint involving alleged police misconduct until further testimony is gathered.

The board is considering a complaint filed by Derek Billups, who said Columbia Police Officer Nathan Turner threw him to the ground unnecessarily when Turner responded to a call at Nephew's Night Life, formerly located at 1213 Business Loop 70 E., on Dec. 13, 2009.

The board heard testimony from Billups, Turner and three witnesses, who discussed their accounts of what happened that night. Columbia Police Officer Sara Mosley, who responded to the call with Turner, also answered questions and discussed what she saw.

The board also interviewed Robert Goldman, a bouncer who was working that night at the club, and Johnny Nelson, who was working as a bartender with Billups.

The board expressed interest in that night's weather conditions as well as the direction from which Turner approached Billups, and whether or not Billups was facing Turner. There was an inquiry into what Turner said when he grabbed Billups' arm and whether Billups tried to resist Turner.

Mosley, Goldman and Nelson all appeared before the board separately to prevent influencing each others' testimonies.

The board did not reach a final decision on the complaint as two more witnesses — a fourth Nephew's employee and the third responding officer — will give their accounts at the Nov. 10 meeting.

Board members were unable to comment on the specifics of the ongoing case, but chairwoman Ellen LoCurto-Martinez said she is pleased with the progress made.

"The process is going fine," she said. "Everybody got to say what they wanted to say."

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