Californians in Town to Appeal SWAT Decision
Reported by ; Jessica Hord Edited by ; Ashley Colley, From KOMU
COLUMBIA – One of two California residents that filed appeals against the Columbia Police Chief’s SWAT decision is in town.
“We filed them at the same time,” Angela Bacca said. Bacca is Ed Rosenthal’s assistant. Rosenthal is the other California resident that turned in an appeal.
When asked why she was here, “We want them to reopen the case. We don’t want them to keep these officers exonerated.”
Bacca is part of Green Aid, a medical and marijuana legal defense and education fund.
Police Chief Ken Burton met with Bacca on Monday. Bacca, earlier in the day, said she would discuss with the police chief what she hoped to get done — to re-open the SWAT investigation. Bacca said, after the interview, that she felt like things went well during the meeting and that she thought the police chief would work with Columbia residents.
“The cops should be serving and protecting us, not humiliating and terrorizing us,” Bacca said.
Bacca said Ed Rosenthal was well known amoung those who are pro-marijuana. “Well we have a very popular blog. There’s a big marijuana network throughout the country for medical marijuana. I know that’s going to sound scary.” She also said that Rosenthal would be in Columbia August 4th to attend Columbia’s Citizens Police Review Board meeting at City Hall.
“If we can make an example here,” Bacca said, “then we can change things in other places.”
Officer Jessie Haden with the Columbia Police Department said it a little differently, “Mr. Rosenthal was very upfront he wants to fight for the legalization of marijuana and he wants us to be his battleground.” Haden continued with, “From the law enforcement angle we enforce the laws. I mean the title says it all and so the legislature arena is really the battleground where these guys would be better served, in the legislature.”
Letter to KOMU from Angela Bacca
Thank you for meeting with me today. I am disappointed about a couple things however,
1- the clip that was used was the most inconsequential and irrelevant part of anything I said. I say this because it did not discuss the items of my appeal, but rather highlighted that I am from California and am angry about the video.
2- I never said I was staying until Aug 4 or that my explicit intent was to upkeep dialogue. I have been meeting with city officials about SWAT policy as well as further researching the case I am appealing.
3- Again, Ed and I were portrayed as outside agitators, we are operating with the support of many organizations in the community. I am copying them on this email in case you want to do more accurate reporting of the situation.
4- the clip you showed from the police department was of a woman who has never spoke with Ed nor myself and has no knowledge of our intentions. While I understand this is who the police had speak to you, it doesn’t need to be reported as fact. We are not in Missouri to legalize marijuana, rather, offer our support to the citizens here in reforming law enforcement.
Thank you for continuing to cover the matter, and I understand you need to compose short, concise clips; Please take the extra time to do it accurately, information and journalism serves no function without accuracy.
California resident discusses appeal filed with Citizens Police Review Board
by Abby Rogers of the Missourian
COLUMBIA — One of the California residents who filed an appeal with Columbia’s Citizens Police Review Board over the Feb. 11 SWAT raid is in Columbia to bring attention to their effort.
Angela Bacca, who is visiting Columbia, and Ed Rosenthal, who filed the appeal, are representatives of Green Aid, a medical marijuana defense and education fund. The group tries to use the court system to change marijuana laws.
The two originally filed a complaint with the police department, and later filed the appeal with the review board after Police Chief Ken Burton sent them a letter saying he had exonerated the officers involved in the Feb. 11 SWAT raid at 1501 Kinloch Court. During the raid in question, officers killed one dog and injured another family dog. A child was also present during the raid. Police found a small amount of marijuana in the house.
Being from California doesn’t affect her concern about the SWAT raid, Bacca said, adding that she is from another state, not another country.
“I am an American,” she said.
According to a previous Missourian article, during the review board’s July 14 meeting, board member Susan Smith questioned Rosenthal’s standing to file a complaint because he wasn’t present during the raid. She also took issue with the fact that Rosenthal doesn’t have a personal stake in the issue.
“The complainant admits that he only knew of the incident from a public Internet site that he voluntarily visited,” Smith said during the meeting. “He has no known relationships to any parties in the incidents.”
According to the city ordinance that established the review board, the board is supposed to review appeals from the police chief’s decisions about alleged police misconduct. The ordinance makes no mention of jurisdiction or who can file an appeal.
Under the current ordinance, the review board has an obligation to hear the appeal, so focusing on her and Rosenthal’s place of residence is a “total waste of time,” said Bacca, the Green Aid media coordinator.
“I really wish they’d stop wasting their time talking about the fact that we’re from (the state of) California,” Bacca said.
Both Bacca and Rosenthal have been working with local attorney Dan Viets to get Columbia residents involved in the appeal. Viets, a representative of the Mid-Missouri American Civil Liberties Union, has collected local signatures to for an appeal to send to the review board. This local appeal is a separate appeal from the one Bacca and Rosenthal sent to the review board, Viets said.
He said it was necessary to create a separate, locally generate appeal in order to end the discussion about standing and “bring the discussion back to the topic of the Kinloch Court incident.”
During her trip to Columbia, Bacca said she has met with city officials and activist groups, including Burton and representatives from the MU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The review board is scheduled to meet Aug. 4, to discuss the SWAT raid. Rosenthal plans to attend that meeting, Bacca said. He also plans to hold a rally outside the new city hall building following the meeting.