Franklin Sheriff Clears Deputy Who Was Present at St. Albans Brutality Incident | Off Message

Franklin Sheriff Clears Deputy Who Was Present at St. Albans Brutality Incident

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St Albans officers pin Amy Connelly to the floor outside a police station holding cell - BODY CAMERA VIDEO
  • Body camera video
  • St Albans officers pin Amy Connelly to the floor outside a police station holding cell
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that its newly hired deputy didn't know his former colleague at the St. Albans Police Department had punched a handcuffed woman in the eye at a scene where both were present.

Michael Ferguson was one of two St. Albans police officers seen on body camera video that captured their former supervisor Jason Lawton roughing up the woman in a holding cell last March. Ferguson resigned from the department in June, the day after the police chief ordered an internal investigation into the incident. Lawton, a sergeant, was later fired, and the third officer, Zachary Koch, was suspended without pay for an unspecified period because he failed to report Lawton's misconduct.
But the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, which hired Ferguson in July as a full-time deputy assigned to court security, was unaware of the excessive force probe, or that Ferguson had resigned amid it, until Seven Days and other news outlets published the body cam footage last week.

Ferguson's new employer placed him on administrative leave last week while it assessed his involvement in the case.




The review concluded that Ferguson didn't witness Lawton hit 35-year-old Amy Connelly at the St. Albans police station. The sheriff's office reinstated Ferguson on Wednesday.

"Ferguson was in the other room on the phone when the incident started and entered the room where the holding cell is located after the punch was thrown and as Connelly was being removed from the cell," the office wrote in a press release. "Ferguson then assisted the other officers as Connelly was placed on the floor."
Ferguson told the sheriff's office that he believed Connelly's eye had been injured at the St. Albans bar where he and other officers arrested her earlier in the night.

Moreover, the sheriff's office said Ferguson was not in fact a subject of the St. Albans chief's internal investigation when he resigned in June.

"The facts and circumstances related to the Deputy's resignation are not related to allegations of potential involvement in the matter involving Connelly," the press release states.

See the video below: