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Columbia schools, police sued over girl's arrest

Posted: 4:00 AM, Feb 18, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-18 05:00:49-05
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COLUMBIA, Mo. — A woman whose daughter was wrongfully arrested at a middle school is suing the Columbia school district and police department.

Kandas Holmes-Barnes is seeking a total of $2.4 million from the Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia Police Department after the arrest at Smithton Middle School in January 2019. Her daughter was 14 at the time.

Holmes-Barnes maintains her daughter was discriminated against and has faced mental health diagnoses, cyberbullying and emotional distress since her arrest, The Columbia Missourian reported.

Officer Tony Ash, the school's resource officer, arrested Holmes-Barnes’ daughter on assault charges after school officials were told she attacked and injured another student. Investigators later determined the report was a case of mistaken identity and Holmes-Barnes’ daughter was released after spending a night in juvenile detention.

Holmes-Barnes filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in May 2019. She filed the lawsuit in January.

Police said Ash had “received discipline” after the arrest but did not elaborate. Columbia Public Schools said it found no board policy violations after its investigation.

Neither the district nor the police department would comment on Holmes-Barnes’ lawsuit.