SONOMA COUNTY (KPIX 5) – A former Sonoma County sheriff's deputy may face criminal charges for using excessive force while responding to a domestic dispute.
The sheriff's office said he is no longer with the force.
Authorities said the incident occurred last month, with the 911 call coming from a neighbor on Highlands Avenue in unincorporated Sonoma County. The caller said a man and a woman were arguing.
When deputies arrived, the woman said nothing had happened. The man locked himself in the bedroom.
"As the sheriff, I'm extremely sorry," Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas told KPIX 5.
Freitas said what happened next should not have happened.
He said Deputy Scott Thorne, who had only been with the department about five months, repeatedly used his nightstick and a Taser on the man.
It was all caught on cameras worn on the bodies of all three deputies who responded. But the sheriff is not releasing that video to the public.
"They forced their way into this gentleman's room. While they were in there, they talked to this gentleman. They could see that he was not injured," Freitas said. "They could see he didn't have a weapon. And so that's when things should have slowed down tremendously. And that's when it should have been pretty clear that there was no crime."
The sheriff said the body camera video shows the deputy using his baton in an excessive way, but that it was his use of the baton at all that got him into trouble.
"In this situation, the force was not reasonable because he's not authorized to use force," Freitas said. "There was no crime. There was no threat. And so no force should have been used at all."
The Sheriff has ordered an internal investigation and also has asked the Santa Rosa Police Department to investigate whether the deputies broke any laws.
Once the investigation is complete, Santa Rosa Police will forward their findings to the District Attorney's Office.
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