Police watchdog activist arrested on suspicion of shooting gun at man

Sunday, September 8, 2013 | 5:51 p.m. CDT; updated 1:20 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 24, 2013

COLUMBIA — The founder of a police watchdog group was arrested Saturday evening on suspicion of assault with a weapon.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call at the 7600 block of North Highway VV shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday.

Witnesses told deputies that a man had arrived at the victim's house and started a verbal altercation. During the dispute, the man pulled out a gun and pointed it at the victim. As he was leaving he fired one round at the victim, but it struck the ground.

No one was injured during the incident, and the assailant wasn't there when police arrived.

Deputies have since arrested Matthew Akins, 24, in connection with the incident.

Akins is best known as the founder of Citizens for Justice, a police watchdog group. He started it after a June 2010 traffic stop during which he was handcuffed while Columbia police searched his car for 45 minutes, according to previous Missourian reports.

He decided to create an online database of Columbia's police officers, including their names, available photos and any reported disciplinary action against the officer. This website now appears to be inactive.

But Citizens for Justice still updates its Facebook group and a YouTube channel with nearly 90 videos, many of which show police officers during traffic stops.

Sgt. Lance Robbins of the Boone County Sheriff's Department said that to the best of his knowledge the department hasn't had any previous interactions with Akins. 

"We don't have any animosity with him," he said.

Akins was charged with one count of first-degree assault, one count of armed criminal action and two counts of first-degree child endangerment.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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Ellis Smith September 9, 2013 | 2:35 a.m.

If the charge is correct this leads a whole new aspect to the term "activism." :)

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