Sonoma, AZ – A former sheriff’s deputy was jailed and charged with felony assault after using excessive force against a 37-year-old man sitting in his own bed in his home. Scott Thorne, 40, turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest, and was released two hours later on $10,000 bail.
The charge came after a 3-month investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office and the District Attorney. The victim, a 37-year-old Marine Corps veteran and former police officer, is still recovering from injuries sustained during the Sept. 24, 2016, incident, where he was beaten with a baton and repeatedly tased.
A neighbor called 911 after hearing a “heated argument” next door, which prompted a domestic disturbance call to the victim’s house. A woman answered the door, and one cop stayed with her while two others went to the back of the house. The victim was locked in his bedroom and refused to come out.
“Thorne forced his way into the bedroom where the man lay on the bed. Thorne grabbed the man’s arm when he refused to get up, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The man pulled away, and Thorne shocked him with a stun gun, but it had little effect on the man, who sat up and pulled out the Taser wires, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Thorne then used his baton and hit the man in the leg, officials said. Thorne and [Officer Beau] Zastrow tried to physically restrain the man on the bed and the third deputy, [Officer Anthony] Diehm, came to the room to assist.
Thorne swung his baton several times, striking the man in the back after he broke free from his grasp and ran toward the door, officials said. He fell to the ground and a struggle continued. Diehm fired his Taser at the man, and they were able to handcuff him.”
It's not clear whether the cops were invited into the home or not, but even though they broke through the bedroom door and violently subdued the man, he was arrested for “threatening an officer, battery and obstructing an officer.” The charges were later dropped when prosecutors reviewed body cam footage. The Sheriff’s Office then reviewed footage and launched an investigation.
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Thorne left the job soon after the investigation started, although “state law prevents the county from saying whether he resigned or was fired.” The two other officers are still on duty and their actions are being reviewed for excessive force and integrity of written reports.
The victim managed to get some video footage which he gave to the Santa Rosa police and DA investigators. His injuries included bruises, injuries and welts
“The man is still recovering from injuries sustained when he was beaten and repeatedly shocked with a stun gun, according to [Attorney Izaak] Schwaiger.
“There’s also the psychological trauma when someone comes into your own home, into your bedroom and commits this kind of violence,” Schwaiger said.”
The county’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach will be reviewing the case when the Sheriff’s Office has completed their review. The case has already led to changes at the department, including the requirement that supervisors “review all incidents when deputies report force was used or a person resisted arrest.”
Perhaps the victim’s cell phone footage and/or body cam footage will be released in the future, which will show us how bad this beating was that it would change department policy and actually bring the arrest of at least one officer.
Hopefully the neighbor realizes now that calling the cops can put people in far more danger than the alternatives.