Austin, TX — A Texas deputy has been fired and charged with multiple crimes after a nightmarish scene unfolded at a barbecue restaurant earlier this month. Restaurant patrons reacted first with shock and then with violence as deputy Jack Danford—unprovoked—attacked an innocent 12-year-old girl with autism as she reached down to pet a puppy.
According to court documents, Danford was in the restaurant the evening of March 3 and was bragging that he'd been drinking all day.
"It was about 7:30," said Russell Cope, the victim’s stepdad. Cope was at the restaurant to deliver firewood that night and had brought along his girlfriend and her 12-year-old daughter Megan.
Cope explained that he had also brought along their puppy and when Megan bent down to pet the little dog, that's when Danford, who was sitting at a nearby table outside, snapped.
“I seen him on top of her, he was hammer fisting her, it was like UFC style,” Cope said.
When the punching began, bystanders were in awe and couldn't believe what they were witnessing. However, their fight or flight mode quickly kicked in and restaurant patrons then began trying to pry Danford off the little girl.
"Two witnesses tried to pull him off of the girl. It didn't work," Cope explained.
After trying to pull him off didn't work, Cope said he began punching the crazed cop in the face, but that didn't work either.
As FOX 26 reports, Cope ran to the patio and attempted to punch Danford in the face, but he told police it didn't phase the former deputy. That's when Cope kicked Danford with his steel-toed boot in the head and Danford finally rolled off the victim and appeared unconscious, according to court documents.
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"I stepped back and I kicked him in the head with my boot and knocked him out," Danford said.
After Cope and the other patrons finally got the deputy off the little girl she was brought to the hospital where she was treated for multiple cuts, bruises and abrasions and a pulled muscle.
“I was like screaming, and saying help and all that,” said the victim.
Cope explained to FOX 19 that the girl is now emotionally traumatized and is scared to be by herself or even go out in public.
"Every time we go out to eat somewhere else, she won't go get food without somebody going with her. She won't go to the restroom without someone going with her," Cope explained.
Once they got the girl away from Danford, things got even more violent once police showed up to arrest the crazed cop.
According to court documents, as FOX 7 notes, the Austin police officers found Danford sitting on the ground, with a strong odor of alcohol, claiming to be drugged. When the officers tried to get Danford's ID from his back pocket, he allegedly grabbed an officer's wrist, and they fell to the ground. To break free, the officers said they had to punch Danford in the back and use an impact weapon.
Prior to being arrested for beating the little girl, Danford was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest during the altercation after the beating. He was fired by the Williamson County Sheriff's Department earlier this month and subsequently charged with Injury to a Child, a third-degree felony after the police investigation revealed the insane beating that took place prior to officers showing up on the scene.
If convicted of the charges, Danford faces no less than two years behind bars and the possibility of up to ten.