Montgomery County deputy fired after punching, kicking suspect

Montgomery County deputy fired after punching, kicking suspect

A veteran of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was terminated after an internal investigation into a use of force incident after a pursuit, according to the sheriff.

Deputy Rob Brown, who had worked for the office for 21 years, was fired Nov. 10. Dash camera footage showed him punching and kicking a suspect after pulling him from a vehicle.

“On July 13, 2020, at approximately (12:30 a.m.) Deputy Brown assisted with effectuating the arrest of Mr. Rondale Hampton. Deputy Brown pulled Mr. Hampton from his vehicle through the front passenger side window. While pulling Mr. Hampton through the window, Deputy Brown improperly struck him in the face. Once out of the vehicle, Deputy Brown improperly kicked Mr. Hampton in the stomach,” an order of termination says.

The order also says that Brown yelled and cursed at Hampton after he was in handcuffs and intentionally bent the rear passenger side door when conducting inventory of Hampton’s vehicle.

“These actions are egregious violations of Sheriff’s Office policies and reflect negatively on the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office,” the termination order, signed by Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck, says.

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Multiple messages left for Brown’s representative, Mark Scranton, were not returned.

An internal investigation says the incident started when a different deputy initiated a pursuit after his cruiser was struck by a black Nissan Altima driven by Hampton. The pursuit involved several deputies from the sheriff’s office and Dayton Police officers, the investigation says, and reached speeds of 110 mph before finishing on Wolf Road.

“We had a pursuit that occurred, and whenever we have a pursuit or use of force there is an extensive review of everything from reports to cameras, audio, because pursuits are very dangerous, use of force has the ability to be dangerous so we have that process built-in,” Streck told the Dayton Daily News. “So the night of the pursuit, the supervisor in charge was watching the video and reviewing the whole incident, and he saw Deputy Brown use force when force may have been justified, but the sergeant felt that force was excessive.”

That started the process that resulted in Streck and his administration staff reviewing the video and agreeing with the sergeant.

“We witnessed a use of force that none of us thought met the criteria for what was occurring at the time,” Streck said.

An internal investigation was started, the sheriff said, and found that the force he used did not meet the office’s training standards or use of force continuum.

Streck said he placed Brown on administrative leave, went through the disciplinary components process established by the deputy’s bargaining unit, and Streck terminated Brown.

The sheriff said while the suspect was black and the officer is white, the race of the individuals was not a factor in the investigation.

“It doesn’t matter if they were both the same race, or if the races were switched, we would have done the same thing,” the sheriff said. “But whenever it is two people of different races, it is always can be contentious and with all the talk about police reform and other things, we obviously have to look at that and make sure the deputies are doing what the public expects from them.”

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An internal investigation says Brown spoke with investigators and told them that he couldn’t see Hampton’s left hand and he may have been reaching for his waist.

“Deputy Brown pulled Mr. Hampton from the passenger side window and onto the pavement,” the internal investigation says. “Deputy Brown reported Mr. Hampton brought his knees up to his chest like he was going to get up and run so he gave him continued commands and delivered a kick to his abdomen to gain compliance.”

However, the internal investigation says video evidence says something different.

“The video evidence contradicts Deputy Brown’s account of the incident and shows Mr. Hampton’s left hand reaching outward away from the car door for the pavement which would be consistent with a person’s response to being pulled face-first through a car window, before falling toward the ground to brace for the impact,” the internal investigation says. “Mr. Hampton’s waist was still on the passenger door with his hands extended away from his body as he was struck by Deputy Brown. Deputy Brown admitted never being trained to strike subjects in the face with closed fists”

In a pre-discipline conference, Brown said that he heard the radio traffic from his co-worker, who is a friend, that he was hit by the suspect’s vehicle, according to a summary filed in his personnel file.

“Deputy Brown joined the pursuit and saw the suspect vehicle collided with the cruiser. It looked like bumper cars. Deputy Brown described this event as one of the most violent things he has seen in all his years as a law enforcement officer,” the summary says. “When he went to the suspect vehicle to effectuate the arrest, he said he had tunnel vision.”

Brown’s representative asked that the sheriff view the incident through Brown’s perception and that Brown felt what he did was appropriate at the time, the summary says.

Streck said the office is still in communication with Brown’s bargaining unit.

“Nobody ever likes to go through this,” the sheriff said. “This should have never occurred, and we just want the community to know that anytime something like this happens, the sheriff’s office will be responsible and do what the community expects.”

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