SHERIDAN, Colo. (KDVR) — The Problem Solvers have obtained bodycam video of a Sept. 3 incident that led to the arrest of a Sheridan Police officer. Officer Shawn Ralph is facing a second-degree assault charge after allegedly placing a suspect in a chokehold during the arrest at a 7-Eleven.
FOX31 received footage from the body-worn camera of four different officers after a court battle with Ralph, who had asked an Arapahoe County Judge to deny media access to the video.
It is the second time in a month a Colorado judge has sided with a media consortium organized by FOX31 to obtain body camera video in a case where an officer fought its release.
In the case of Ralph, bodycam video shows he reacted after the shoplifting suspect, 25-year-old Benni Montano spit in his eye. In the video, Ralph can be heard saying “F—ing spit on me!” before video appears to show him placing Montano in a chokehold for a few seconds.
Another officer quickly intervened and told Ralph to “relax.”
In the video, it’s clear that Montano meant to spit in the direction of a 7-Eleven employee who had just come outside to identify Montano as the person who stole a bottle of Coke and a package of Nutter Butter cookies. As the 7-Eleven employee turned to walk back inside the convenience store, Montano stood up and spit in his direction right as Ralph walked in between the store employee and Montano.
Montano was arrested for four misdemeanors and two petty offenses related to assaulting a first responder and shoplifting.
Ralph has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of his criminal case.