BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A former 13-year veteran of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office was arrested on third-degree assault and official misconduct charges Tuesday for use of excessive force on an inmate in September.
Former Sgt. Christopher Mecca, 51, was the on-duty supervisor for the jail division on Sept. 23 when two Longmont police officers brought in an uncooperative inmate. The inmate was a Black man from Fayetteville, Ark. who was in custody on domestic violence charges and was intoxicated, according to BCSO.
During the transfer, the inmate was combative and indicated he may not cooperate with deputies at the jail, BCSO said.
After they arrived, he was compliant while two officers walked him to the pat search area. Deputies began asking routine questions and he apparently went limp as to show passive resistance, BCSO said.
Mecca instructed deputies to put him in a restraint chair. While doing so, the inmate began spitting at deputies and attempted to bite one of them, according to BCSO. Deputies quickly restrained him with a spit sock.
While the inmate was restrained in the chair, Mecca allegedly used a Taser-like device on the inmate’s left thigh for five seconds. The use of the Taser is against BCSO policy and considered an unnecessary use of force.
Mecca was suspended and put on administrative leave after reporting himself to the nightshift commander following the incident. Longmont police supervisors reported the incident to BCSO as well.
An internal affairs investigation was launched and Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle launched a criminal investigation to coincide with the internal affairs inquiry.
Mecca resigned on his own account on Oct. 9 rather than face termination for his misconduct, BCSO said.
An affidavit was prepared and an arrest warrant was issued by a judge. The warrant had a $1,000 personal recognizance bond, which allowed Mecca’s release on good faith.
Mecca turned himself in and was booked and released through the Boulder County Jail.
“I am deeply troubled about the unnecessary force used, as it is contrary to the mission, vision, and values of what the sheriff’s office stands for,” Pelle said. “While former sergeant Mecca’s underlying motivation isn’t known, the unnecessary application of force on a person of color is especially concerning.”
Mecca was hired by BCSO in 2007 and promoted to sergeant in 2018. He did not have any disciplinary actions before this event and had even been awarded honors during his employment.
BCSO says the investigation is on-going and there is no indication of racially motivated use of excessive force. The incident was captured on body worn camera but video footage is evidence and not releasable by the sheriff’s office due to the pending criminal prosecution.