- WASHINGTON POST
A deputy was fired after kicking a cuffed man. He may become sheriff.
12:38 JST, August 28, 2022
A Vermont sheriff’s deputy has been fired from his job in the office he might lead after video surfaced of him kicking a handcuffed man this month.
John Grismore will still be on the November ballot for county sheriff, though he won’t have support from his local Republican Party in light of his Aug. 7 actions that were recorded when he was a captain for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Franklin County Sheriff Roger Langevin told NBC News in a statement that Grismore’ s “egregious” actions were reported to him by other officers.
“Grismore is no longer employed by the FCSO and no longer has my support for sheriff,” Langevin told the outlet. “Additionally, I have filed the incident with the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council . . . and they may institute sanctions including revocation of law enforcement certification.”
Langevin and Grismore didn’t respond to The Washington Post’s requests for comment Saturday.
Langevin told NBC News that the Vermont State Police have opened a criminal investigation.
The video begins with a shirtless, handcuffed man sitting on a bench in an office making mostly indiscernible statements.
At one point, the man bends down, spits on the floor and yells obscenities. He then stands up and tries to move around, but his feet are cuffed to the bench, causing the stumbling man to fall onto his stomach and exclaim “that hurt” to himself.
Two officers enter the frame to help him back up to his seat as he yelps from the pain of his fall.
The man asks whether he’s bleeding and requests to call emergency services. He stands back up, and one officer places her hand on his shoulder to prevent him from falling over. The other officer explains to the bound man that if he steps forward, he will fall again because his feet are cuffed to the bench.
The man temporarily sits before standing again and mumbling requests when Grismore enters the frame from the right in a baseball cap, peach T-shirt and dark shorts.
Grismore lifts his right leg and makes contact with the handcuffed man’s torso, pushing the man back into a seated position.
“Sit down! All the way down,” Grismore commands.
The man mumbles about a camera and stands up one more time.
Grismore gives him another forceful kick near the groin area, sitting the man back down.
“Okay. I got him. I got him. He kicked me,” the man said to one of the officers. “He’s so much in trouble.”
Grismore enters the frame again to place a hood over the man’s head, with Grismore alleging that the man tried to spit at him.
The other two officers readjust the man’s cuffs, reposition him and leave him sitting down with the hood over his face before the clip ends.
Grismore’s actions have drawn rebukes from local Republicans and Democrats, uniting the parties in calling for Grismore to remove his name from the November ballot.
Grismore won the Republican nomination for sheriff Aug. 9, the same day that the County Courier broke the story of the allegations. He also won enough write-ins to appear on the Democratic ticket.
On Aug. 11, the Franklin County Republican Party denounced Grismore’s actions and called on him to drop out of the race. The Franklin County Democratic Party on Wednesday also asked Grismore to withdraw, pointing to a law that would allow Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, D, to remove Grismore from the ballot if the candidate requested the move.
The deadline for Grismore to drop out of the race was Aug. 19, and there is no indication that he has requested a withdrawal under the law noted by the Democrats.
The Vermont secretary of state’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment early Saturday evening.
Franklin County GOP Chairman Joe Luneau told investigative outlet VTDigger that he would like to see Republicans and Democrats collaborate to back a write-in candidate for sheriff.
Republican Zach Weight told MyNBC5 that Grismore’s name on the ballot “sets a bad tone.”
Democrat John Lavoie, a deputy Franklin County state’s attorney who is running against Weight, told MyNBC5 that the state could remove Sheriff Grismore from office.
“I can’t imagine that Capt. Grismore would be elected at this point, but should he be, the only way around that is impeachment by the legislature,” he told the outlet.
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