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Rob Sanders in appellate court

A former Columbia police officer trying to get his job back is waiting on an appellate court decision.

Rob Sanders was fired for pushing a man inside a holding cell in 2011, but a Cole County Circuit Court judge ruled that Sanders should be reinstated to the police force. The City of Columbia appealed the decision Wednesday.

Sanders’ attorney said Sanders was following CPD policy at the time of the incident. He said in 2011 if an inmate banged on a cell door, an officer would warn them not to do it. If they did it again, the inmate was to be restrained, even if force was necessary. Sanders’ attorney said that’s exactly what happened during the incident.

The city’s attorney argued it wasn’t policy and Sanders should have never gone into the cell.

Sanders said he’s optimistic about the appeal outcome and is ready to wear the uniform again.

“My lifelong ambition was to be a K9 officer and I achieved that and was doing quite will at it and really enjoying the law enforcement career. So, I can’t wait get back to it. I see no reason why I won’t achieve that. It’s just been five years in the making. So, it takes awhile,” Sanders said.

The city’s attorney declined to comment after the hearing.

If Sanders wins the appeals case, it’s possible he’ll be reinstated and receive four years of back pay.

The Missouri Court of Appeals usually takes around 37 days to hand down decisions in its cases.

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