Sheridan police officer facing assault charge after allegedly placing suspect in chokehold

Local News

GLENDALE, Colo. (KDVR) — A Sheridan Police officer is facing a second-degree assault charge after allegedly placing a suspect in a chokehold during an arrest.

Just after 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 3, Sheridan Police Officer McClay detained a female suspected of shoplifting in the 3400 block of South Federal Boulevard. The suspect allegedly resisted until McClay got her in a wristlock. Officer Shawn Ralph arrived to assist with McClay.

While the suspect was detained in handcuffs, two other officers arrived. Ralph spoke with the store clerk about the theft, and when he brought the clerk outside to identify the stolen items, the suspect became aggressive and launched toward the clerk, the arrest warrant says.

One officer grabbed the suspect’s right arm and another grabbed her left to hold her back and Ralph stepped in front of her. Body camera video shows the suspect move her head around and then spit. The suspect’s saliva landed on Ralph’s face, near his eye, the affidavit said.

Ralph then grabbed the suspect by the neck with his left hand and grabbed her left arm with his right hand. The affidavit says Ralph took the suspect backward to the ground and then the body camera video shows the suspect appearing to be in pain when Ralph appears to place his other hand on the suspect’s hand on her neck.

Another officer removes Ralph from the suspect and tells him to “relax” while other officers on scene take the suspect into custody. The officers are made aware the suspect has a felony warrant for her arrest. Paramedics took the suspect to the hospital before she was booked into jail.

Sheridan Police Chief Jeffrey Martinez released this statement:

On September 3, 2021, at approximately 1:30 a.m., members of the Sheridan Police Department handled a shoplifting incident in the 3400 block of South Federal Boulevard. An adult female was detained after being identified as the party who had allegedly committed the offense. While officers were completing their investigation, the female assaulted a Sheridan Police Officer by spitting in his eyes and face. The officer reacted to the assault by allegedly grabbing the female party around the front of her neck and forcing her to the ground. Other officers who were present, including a supervisor, took immediate physical action to intervene in the incident and deescalated the situation. Medical attention was sought for the female who was later cleared at the hospital with no apparent injuries. The supervisor and other officers present at the scene took swift action and reported the incident to command level personnel at the Sheridan Police Department. The officers then documented their observations in written reports.  

As the Chief of Police of the Sheridan Police Department, I was concerned with the incident and immediately initiated an investigation and promptly presented the case to the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office.

The officer was immediately placed on Administrative Leave pending the outcome of the criminal and administrative investigation as is standard procedure. Body worn cameras were in use during the incident and release of that footage is subject to the requirements of state statue.   

We believe in the integrity of both the criminal and administrative processes and will withhold judgement until both are completed.  I want to assure our community the Sheridan Police Department is committed to providing outstanding service, transparency, and safety to the community we serve.

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