Deputy Caught on Video Assaulting Girl, Blames Job Stress, Files Lawsuit

| by Michael Allen

A video of a sheriff's deputy assaulting a girl, 17, in Bozeman, Mont., in Feb. 2011 was released today.

A surveillance video (below) shows then-Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Madsen threatening the girl, "You're going to find out what a world of hurt really is."

"I said sit down! You understand?" Madsen yells at the girl. "This is the last time I'm going to tell you."

Madsen then rushes the girl, grabs her by the throat and slams her backwards against a wall in the Gallatin County Law & Justice Center.

"Well, the video shows an unprovoked attack on a defenseless girl," Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert told KRTV. "The public can draw its own conclusions about what occurred, but I think now the public will understand why the sheriff and I had the concerns that we had about this particular case."

According to NBC Montana, Judge Holly Brown would not allow the video to be used in Madsen's trial earlier this year because it didn't show the full two hours between the girl and Madsen.

"In the United States of America we judge people on the whole story like we should," said Al Avignone, Madsen's defense lawyer. "The entire story is not on those five minutes. So the public is not seeing the entire story."

However, citizens are routinely convicted and sentenced to jail based on short video clips (and no clips) that do not show the "entire story." Protester Cecily McMillan was found guilty of second-degree assault of a New York City police officer in 2012 earlier this year based on a short video clip, noted The New York Times.

The Billings Gazette reports that Madsen filed a lawsuit against Gallatin County on Feb. 27 that claimed he did not receive treatment for mental health issues caused by the stress of his job, which supposedly caused him to act out of character and assault the teen girl.

It's not clear if Madsen will use the short video of himself grabbing the girl by the throat in his civil suit against Gallatin County.

Sources: KRTV, NBC Montana, The New York Times, Billings Gazette