Police investigating Vermont sheriff’s captain for alleged assault on detainee
ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - A captain with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Vermont is under investigation for allegations of officer misconduct. Capt. John Grismore, who is currently running for election to be the next Franklin County sheriff, has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is underway.
In the nearly two-hour video of the incident sent to us by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, deputies are seen interacting with an individual who they say was drunk at the time.
The video walks us through the incident from the point of when the deputies first encounter the man, to when he is ultimately taken to jail and the alleged misconduct takes place.
The video starts at the subject’s home, where it appears sheriff’s deputies were called for a report of a drunk and disorderly man living at the residence.
Roughly a minute later, the man-- whose name has not been released-- becomes agitated and while officers attempted to deescalate the situation, the man appears to assault one of the responding officers. The deputies then take the man into custody.
That’s when they transport him to the franklin county sheriff’s office -- and the incident in question happens.
Franklin County Sheriff Capt. John Grismore can be seen entering the video as officers attempt to get the man to cooperate.
After telling him to sit down, Grismore-- wearing a red shirt and shorts-- kicks the man, forcing him back onto the bench.
The video then shows that man standing up again and Grismore delivering another kick to his groin area.
When a department launches a use of force investigation, Norwich University Criminologist Penny Shtull says there are very specific things that investigators will look for.
“Police are going to investigate the reasonableness of the force that was used and the necessity that was used. Specifically, they’re looking at typically three different areas-- they’re looking at the severity of the crime and the situation and whether force was necessary,” Shtull explained.
She says they’re also looking at whether force was used to protect the life of an individual or the officer, and whether the force was necessary to keep an individual from fleeing police custody.
Shtull says use of force investigations have become more common and serve as a way to hold officers accountable.
“We want to try and understand and see if the force was reasonable and whether it had legal purpose, and investigations are meant to do just that. It gives time for them to look at the situation and see whether the officer acted in compliance with the law,” she said.
Grismore will remain on leave while the Vermont State Police investigate the incident.
Based on the initial press release from the sheriff’s department, it appears that patrol deputies with the department initiated the complaint against Grismore.
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