San Diego

Deputy Who Slapped Woman in Wheelchair, Threatened Tourists, Fired: Doc

 A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) deputy has been fired after admitting he slapped a woman in a wheelchair at least twice and threatened a family of tourists that tried to intervene, according to documents obtained by NBC 7 San Diego.

The incident happened sometime in the past two years when the deputy, “heavily inebriated” at the time, slapped the woman at least twice without provocation, according to a Civil Service Commission document from the Feb. 3, 2016 meeting. The incident happened when the deputy worked in detentions and court services.

When a group of tourists from Arizona tried to step in to help the woman, the deputy pulled out his badge, but lied and identified himself as a police officer, the documents say. The deputy “knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily stipulated that all of the charges were true” at the meeting, according to the document.

As San Diego Police (SDPD) officers arrested him, the deputy kicked at the windows and doors of the police car as he was being transported, according to the document. He demanded “professional courtesy” from the officers and told them they were lucky he didn’t have his gun on him.

The deputy said in his defense that this case was his only instance of bad behavior in 23 years of military service and police work.

Because the act was so outrageous and out-of-character, he argued, it should be discounted.
“Conversely, he argued that the outrageous nature of the conduct shows that it should be discounted from any estimate of his real character,” according to the document. 

SDSO spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said the deputy's behavior was not representative of the thousands of men and women who worked at the department every day. 

"Employees make mistakes, employees do things they shouldn't, but this rose to a level that is completely unacceptable," Caldwell said. 

She said when people go through training to become a deputy, they go through many different types of training, including ethics and how to interact with the public. 

"You don't assault anyone, for any reason, whatsoever," she said. 

She said she was glad the case was an outlier; the deputy's behavior was unlike anything she had seen in her ten years with the department. County and Sheriff's officials said the officer personnel records are protected by state law and his name is not being released.

"Every aspect of the behavior was reprehensible to this department and that was what happened; then we took a look into it substantiated the allegations and found them to be accurate and that's when he was terminated," Caldwell said.

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