Candidate for Franklin County Sheriff pleads not guilty to jailhouse assault

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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SAINT ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - The only person on the ballot next month to become Franklin County’s next sheriff pleaded not guilty in court Monday to an alleged jailhouse assault earlier this summer.

John Grismore was caught on video surveillance kicking a handcuffed man in custody in August. He was suspended and then fired after the video became public. The Vermont State Police conducted an investigation into Grismore’s use of force and last week Grand Isle County State’s Attorney Douglas Disabito charged Grismore with simple assault.

“Last week I reviewed the affidavits, I reviewed the interviews, I reviewed everything and just thought there was probable cause that Mr. Grismore recklessly engaged in conduct that caused bodily injury to the victim,” Disabito said.

In a September interview, Grismore told WCAX that he believes he did nothing wrong and that he was defending his deputies from a man who was about to spit on them. He says he used his foot to keep as much distance from the suspect as possible.

Grismore is the sole person on the ballot for Franklin County Sheriff despite having both major parties rescind their support. Instead, officials have thrown their support behind write-in candidate Mark Lauer, a lieutenant with the Franklin County Sheriff’s office with 35 years in law enforcement. Now, the challenge is for him to build name recognition.

“I’m doing anything I can possibly think of that would get my name out there and help people remember me,” Lauer said Monday. But he says he will not be commenting on the Grismore case. “I’m not getting involved in that aspect of the campaign at all. That was a State Police investigation and the case was reviewed by the state’s attorney’s office and they made the decision to bring about the charges, so I’m not making any comments about that at all.”

Grismore pleaded not guilty in court. He declined to comment on the case again until he speaks with his lawyer. If Grismore is convicted, it would not prevent him from serving as sheriff.

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