WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Three Weld County Sheriff’s Deputies have been relieved of duty after one of them was caught on camera punching a suspect. The Sheriff’s Office released video of the Oct. 18 incident on Wednesday.
The suspect was being held in an interview room at the Weld County Sheriff’s Office for the Loveland Police Department under suspicion of criminal activity. According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies were attempting to restrain the suspect but he resisted deputies and refused to follow verbal commands.
Investigators said Deputy Paul Saunders punched the suspect in the back of the head, which a technique that is neither instructed nor approved by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. According to a news release, Deputy Saunders had been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since June of 2019 and was in training at the time of the incident.
The inmate can be heard asking the deputies if the punch was legal, to which one of the deputies responded and said, “yes it’s called pain compliance.”
Following an internal investigation, Deputy Saunders was issued a summons for 3rd degree assault and was terminated from employment.
The two other staff members in the video are both 15-year veterans of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Todd Deutsch resigned from the Sheriff’s Office and Sergeant Scott Holmen was terminated from employment as a result of the internal investigation.
In a statement Wednesday, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said it, “recognizes and respects the value of each human life that deputies encounter at every call for service.” The statement goes on to say, “The actions of these deputies were outside the scope of their assigned duties and undermine the Sheriff’s Office mission; to provide effective public safety services with honor and integrity.”