A former Somona County sheriff’s deputy has been charged and accused of severely beating a man with a baton in his home last September during a domestic dispute call, officials said.
Scott Thorne, 40, of Walnut Creek, faces one felony count of assault by an officer, according to Joe Langenbahn, a spokesman for the Sonoma County district attorney’s office. Thorne is scheduled to appear in Sonoma County Superior Court on Jan. 17.
Thorne was arrested just after midnight Wednesday in connection with the charge, according to Sgt. Spencer Crum, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. He was released two hours later after posting $10,000 bail.
Thorne did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Sheriff’s Office launched an internal investigation and requested an independent criminal probe into the actions of Thorne and two other deputies following the Sonoma Valley incident.
After authorities reviewed the deputies’ body cameras, sheriff’s officials said they determined Thorne’s actions were “excessive for the circumstances and were in violation of our use of force policy.”
“Our use of force policy specifically states that use of force by deputies must be reasonable and appropriate for every situation and in this case we felt this deputy’s use of force was excessive,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement following the incident. “This deputy is no longer employed by our office.”
The incident occurred on Sept. 24 about 10:30 p.m. when a resident called authorities after she heard her neighbors arguing, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
When deputies went to the home, a woman opened the door and the deputies entered.
“One deputy took the woman into a room to question her, and the other two deputies went to the back of the home looking for the woman’s husband who was in a locked bedroom,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The woman’s husband refused to come out, so Thorne forced open the door, authorities said. The husband was lying on a bed and refused Thorne’s order to stand.
Thorne then grabbed the man’s arm, and when he pulled away, Thorne used his Taser, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“The man was able to sit up and pull the Taser wires out,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The deputy then pulled out his baton and struck the man in the leg.”
As Thorne and two other deputies tried to restrain the man, he broke free and ran toward the door, and Thorne “swung his baton several times into the man’s back,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The woman’s husband fell to ground, where he and deputies continued to struggle until the third deputy deployed his Taser, authorities said.
After the man was handcuffed, he was taken to a hospital and treated for injuries. He was later arrested on suspicion of threatening, resisting and battery on an officer.
On Oct. 11, the district attorney’s office notified sheriff’s officials that prosecutors would not file charges against the woman’s husband.
The man is still recovering from his injuries, the Press Democrat reported.
Sheriff’s officials said they were “deeply concerned over the incident that transpired” and apologized to the woman’s husband.
“We also want to apologize to our community,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office strives to do our absolute best to provide professional public safety services. This is an isolated incident that we are proactively addressing, and does not reflect the values of the Sheriff’s Office.”
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