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Former Boulder County sergeant arrested, accused of assaulting an inmate

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Posted at 11:14 AM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 13:14:57-04

BOULDER, Colo. — A former Boulder County Sheriff's Office sergeant was arrested on assault charges claiming he restrained an uncooperative inmate and used a Taser on him.

The Twentieth Judicial District Attorney’s Office charged Christopher Mecca, 51, with third-degree assault and first-degree official misconduct for the incident that happened in the Boulder County Jail on Sept. 23.

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office said Longmont officers brought in a 32-year-old intoxicated Black man on domestic assault charges. They said he was combative during his arrest and said he was unsure if he would cooperate with jail deputies. He was cooperative at first, but eventually became passively resistant. Mecca instructed deputies to place the man into a restraint chair. While they were restraining him, the inmate began spitting at staff and attempted to bite a deputy, but the sheriff's office said deputies had him under control. Mecca then used the Taser on the inmate's thigh for approximately five seconds.

The office said a body-worn camera and security camera captured the entire encounter. The Boulder County Sheriff said Mecca self-reported the incident and was immediately suspended from duty and placed on administrative leave. He resigned during the disciplinary process, in lieu of termination, for violating multiple policies including departure from his training and violations of the office's mission and values.

“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," Boulder County Sheriff Joe 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.”

The sheriff's office said the investigation has not shown the excessive force was racially motivated, based on victim and witness statements.

The Boulder County Sheriff notified the office after learning about the incident. District Attorney Michael Dougherty said multiple other law enforcement personnel were present at the time, but his investigation concluded none of them knew Mecca would use a Taser and the incident was over before any of them realized what was happening. None of the other law enforcement present are facing charges.

Mecca was hired by the sheriff’s office in March 2007 as a deputy and was promoted to sergeant in January 2018. He has no prior disciplinary record, including any allegations of excessive force. If convicted on both charges, Mecca could face up to three years in jail.