Columbia settles with plaintiff in lawsuit over officer's use of excessive force

Friday, December 23, 2011 | 5:25 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia will pay $250,000 to settle a civil lawsuit by the man who was injured by a former Columbia police officers.

Rob Sanders, an 18-year veteran of the Columbia Police Department, was fired on Sept. 21 after an internal affairs investigation into the Aug. 15 incident, in which he was accused of using excessive force. A surveillance video captured Sanders shoving Kenneth Baker into a wall, causing his head to strike the concrete floor of a holding cell.

Ron Netemeyer, the attorney for Baker, said Friday that his client is still recovering from a compression fracture of his vertebra suffered during the episode. Netemeyer said that the fracture is permanent, that his client is experiencing pain during day-to-day activities and that his injury increases the likelihood of arthritic complications.

Netemeyer said the $250,000 was a figure both his client and the city agreed upon and indicates the desire of both parties to put the incident behind them. Netemeyer said his client "wants to move on and try to be a productive citizen."

In April, another client of Netemeyer's, Keri Ann Cox, received $130,000 in a settlement stemming from a July 2008 incident in which another Columbia police officer, Patrick Corcoran, was accused of using excessive force. Cox claimed in a lawsuit that Corcoran broke her arm while attempting to arrest her after a domestic disturbance.

Netemeyer said that Police Chief Ken Burton's response to the incident involving Sanders and Baker was appropriate and necessary to stop future lawsuits alleging excessive force.

"Chief Burton's come under a lot of pressure, but if the city and Police Department don't stop this behavior then that's not healthy for the city," Netemeyer said.

Calls to the police chief, city attorneys, city staff and Sander's attorney were not returned on Friday.

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Harold Sutton December 25, 2011 | 8:37 a.m.

Yes, Officer Rob Sanders was wrong to slam Kenneth Baker like he did but; Why have we not heard an verifible report of just what Kenneth Baker said and did that set off Officer Rob Sanders. Something is being concealed ....

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