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Legal expert says external investigation into Sturgeon police officer’s actions is overdue


A former prosecuting attorney said it's "inexcusable" that an investigation hasn't has started into the Sturgeon police officer who shot and killed a dog earlier this month.

Officer Myron Woodson is on paid leave after shooting and killing a 13-pound, blind and deaf dog. Body camera video obtained by ABC 17 News shows Woodson trying to catch the dog, named Teddy, for about 3 minutes with a catchpole, before getting out his gun and shooting the animal.

The Sturgeon Board of Aldermen said in a meeting Tuesday night that Woodson would remain on paid leave until they have a chance to meet and make a decision about the next steps.

However, former Cole County prosecutor Bill Tackett said an external investigation needs to take place before any decisions about Woodson can be made.

"Typically, the external investigation occurs first so that there is no evidence tampering or who knows what. You really want it to be as clean as possible," Tackett said. "Then, you take the external investigation and make your decisions based on that."

Tackett said by "decision" he means deciding whether the officer acted within the authority of his office or if the officer needs to be dismissed.

He said he is surprised that an investigation has not been conducted already and said one needs to happen quickly.

The City of Sturgeon said on Facebook on Saturday that it had reached out to the Boone County Sheriff's Office to do a third-party investigation. However, Capt. Brian Leer said the sheriff's office would not be conducting an investigation.

Leer said in an email, "This incident involved a City of Sturgeon police officer. Boone County Sheriff's Office personnel were not involved in the incident. Due to the City of Sturgeon being accountable for the actions of their employee, an internal administrative review needs to occur."

Tackett said since Sturgeon is in Boone County, it's not unusual that the sheriff's office declined to investigate. He said in situations like this, the Missouri State Highway Patrol needs to be called in.

"The simple answer is to call the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and that should've been done immediately," Tackett said. "Just call them in, back away, all the evidence is untouched, allow the interviews to be conducted and then there's a determination. But, you can't determine criminality without a police report. You have to have an investigation."

He said it is normal for MSHP to investigate situations such as this, and it would likely be done within about one month. If MSHP does not investigate the case, Tackett said a circuit judge could then step in to make sure an investigation occurs.

Master Sgt. Darrin Haslag with the MSHP Division of Drug and Crime Control said Wednesday the patrol has not yet been asked to investigate.

Tackett said a third-party investigation needs to happen so reports can be turned over to a prosecutor or attorney. They will then decide if a crime has been committed and if charges should be filed.

The City of Sturgeon has not responded for a request for comment on this story.

On Tuesday, the owner of the dog, Nicholas Hunter, filed a lawsuit against Woodson and the City of Sturgeon. Tackett said since this is a civil lawsuit, it is separate from the investigation that needs to occur.

Article Topic Follows: Boone

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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