Sheriff's deputy under investigation after cop punches handcuffed woman

Published: Aug. 8, 2019 at 2:34 PM EDT
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Another law enforcement officer is off the job stemming from an incident at the St. Albans Police Department. And now it's turned into a back-and-forth blame game between two law enforcement agencies. Our Darren Perron explains.

He didn't land the punch that gave a handcuffed Amy Connelly a black eye but Ofc. Michael Ferguson saw Sgt. Jason Lawton do it and he didn't report it. That's according to St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor.

So the chief says he planned to fire Ferguson in addition to Lawton. But before he could, Ferguson quit and took a job at the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.

But now we've learned he's off the job there, too.

The sheriff's office tells us it did a background check on Ferguson and vetted him with the St. Albans police and the Connelly case was never mentioned. So they hired Ferguson on July 29. He's been on the job since.

That is until the Connelly story broke, showing Ferguson in the video. Ferguson is now on administrative leave while the sheriff's department looks into it.

However, St. Albans police responded saying an officer hand-delivered Ferguson's personnel records to the Sheriff's Department on July 10, and pointed out that in them were more serious performance issues than the failure to report the violation in the Connelly case, which the PD describes as minor.

Chief Taylor said, "The St. Albans Police Department has not withheld any information about Ferguson from the Franklin County Sheriff Department or any other law enforcement agency."

The other officer in the video is Zachary Koch. He's also under investigation for failing to report Lawton's behavior. The chief says that review will wrap up soon.

The police department says it's learned from this incident and changed how it investigates use-of-force incidents. Now, a shift supervisor will review all audio and video in addition to written reports.