After the fight that took place outside of Blum Student Union on November 5 led to two arrests, administration members are asking any witnesses to step forward. Though arrests have been made, charges have yet to be filed, according to Missouri Case.Net.
Cale Fessler, vice president for financial planning and administration, suggests that the viewpoints of new witnesses will be taken into account if they make a report with the police department.
“If they would like to make a report of that additional information, we would of course be glad to review it as well,” Fessler said in an email.
Whenever a weapon is used, the police department must make sure that the use of force was justified.
Tim Kissock, risk manager, explains that the decision process can be fairly simple.
“Whenever the Taser is deployed, we do our normal police reports, but there we do a use of force report, which will be reviewed by the police chief and will be forwarded to the vice president for further review,” Kissock said. “You have to look at the circumstances and see if the use of force was justified.”
Fessler is confident, with the information that is currently available, that the officers who used force during the incident conducted themselves in accordance with university policies.
“All of our officers understand the heavy responsibilities that come with being a police officer on a university campus and it is always their desire to resolve any incident before the use of force becomes necessary,” Fessler wrote. “Unfortunately, that was not the case in this incident; however, based on our review, the officers involved responded appropriately.”
If the review that Fessler, Kissock and Meyer conduct revealed a question of misconduct, further action would be taken.
“If out of that review, I or Tim says, ‘You know, we need to look into this further,’… if we decided that the use of force in this case was too much or even not sufficient to address the situation, then Chief Meyer would take that up with the officer… whether that was discussion, something in a personnel file or additional training,” Fessler wrote.
Fessler also believes that some witnesses of the fight may have a misunderstanding of how an officer perceives compliance.
“There’s non-compliance, which some may think is like striking an officer,” Fessler explains. “That individual who was shoving at Chief Meyer, as an officer on the scene, they’re going to see that as, they’re trying to get past the officer for a reason.”
After the university collects evidence and an initial use of force investigation is conducted, the case is then given to the Buchanan County Prosecuting Office. From there, Fessler explains, the university is separated from the case.
“We just kind of step back at that point and they may contact us for additional information and things like that. But at this point, with it in their hands, we’re kind of separate.”