Police officer fired after allegedly pushing inmate

Update: Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m.:

A Columbia police officer was fired after injuring a man in a holding cell.

Officer Rob Sanders was caught on surveillance video during an incident last month.

The man in the holding cell was arrested by police officers for outstanding warrants and resisting arrest. While he was resisting, officers sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray. Police gave KRCG a copy of the surveillance video where you see Sanders push the man into a cement wall causing his head to start bleeding. It happened on the night of August 15. Officers were in the cell because the man wanted water to relieve the pain in his eyes from pepper spray. That TMs when the conflict broke out. Officers chained the man to the floor. He was left alone and bleeding for nearly 30 minutes.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton said, That is not how we treat citizens. As I opened up with, it TMs not my expectation. We expect to treat people with dignity and respect and only use the force that is necessary to achieve our lawful objectives. This case, in my mind, is unacceptable.

Burton fired Sanders for using unreasonable force, a city violation related to the treatment of prisoners and a lack of providing medical care. The other officers involved the incident are not facing any disciplinary action.

Burton said, I TMm kind of speechless. I don TMt know that I have a reaction. When I first saw it, I was obviously disappointed. I think I have to let the process complete itself.

Burton said the man in the holding cell has recovered from his injuries.

Burton has sent this case to the prosecutor TMs office where they will determine whether a crime was committed.

Sanders was an 18-year veteran with the Columbia Police Department and just 2 years away from retirement eligibility.

Update: Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 3:45 p.m.:

A source says the officer fired was Rob Sanders. He's accused of pushing an inmate who was in a holding cell. Prosecutors have not filed charges.

Original Story:

A Columbia police officer has been fired because of an incident that happened in one of the department TMs holding cells.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton called a special news conference Wednesday afternoon to release some information. However, he is not releasing any names at this time or any specific details about the allegations. Burton did note that documents have been turned over to the prosecutor's office.

"One of the most critical issues that define the effectiveness of any police agency is the public trust. That trust must remain inviolate for the police to effectively do their job, Burton said in an emailed statement.

The officer is accused of pushing an inmate inside a holding cell. The inmate suffered injuries to his head. Chief Burton says the whole thing was caught on camera.

The incident happened August 15. The department put the accused officer on administrative leave with pay nine days later, which was shortly after officials learned of the incident. He was fired Wednesday.

The personnel action that has been taken demonstrates a zero tolerance for conduct that undermines the Columbia Police Department's credibility, or that may damage the public's trust in our Department," Burton explained.