A video (below) surfaced on April 19 of a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy using a stun gun on a man in his bedroom in Boyes Hot Springs, California, in September 2016.
Deputies were called by Fernando Del Valle's neighbors, who heard the Marine Corps veteran and his wife arguing. When deputies arrived, Del Valle had retreated to his bedroom, notes The Press Democrat.
The video picks up as the deputies, who allegedly broke down Del Valle's bedroom door, demand that Del Valle "stand up."
"Sir, I’m just laying here trying to sleep and you’re--," Del Valle replies. "I’m not standing up. I’m in my house. I’m sleeping."
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Del Valle, who is filming with his cell phone, refuses to get out of bed, and says: "I got you on video. Go ahead. Tase me."
Former Deputy Scott Thorne discharges his stun gun on Del Valle's bare chest. Del Valle screams as the prongs send electricity into him.
According to Del Valle's lawyer, Thorne also used a baton to beat Del Valle; there are sounds that resemble strikes in the video, in which the camera is juggled around during the incident.
Del Valle’s wife is heard on the video telling the deputies, "He’s not doing anything!" Del Valle tells his wife to take his cell phone, with the video footage, and "give it to the lawyer!"
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The deputies are heard cursing at DeValle's wife with the F-word.
The deputies took Del Valle to jail, but he was cleared after authorities watched the body camera videos from Thorne and two other deputies: Anthony Diehm and Beau Zastrow.
The Press Democrat notes that Thorne has a history of excessive force complaints, and was ultimately fired from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Del Valle’s lawyer, Izaak Schwaiger, said that given the cell phone video and police body cam video footage "there is no question about what happened here."
"I think it speaks volumes," Schwaiger added.
Sonoma County Sheriff Sgt. Spencer Crum said: "We acted very swiftly and Scott Thorne [is] no longer employed by us. We are very concerned this is an excessive force case. We acknowledged it from Day One."
The Sonoma County Sheriff Office has refused to release the deputies' body camera videos.
Del Valle filed a civil claim against the Sonoma County government. The claim says that Del Valle engaged in an argument with his wife after Del Valle failed to notice her new haircut, which triggered the neighbor's 911 call and the arrival of the deputies.
KGO-TV reports that Thorne was charged with felony assault by a public officer, and will go on trial in June.
Thorne's lawyer, Chris Andrian, told The Press Democrat: "[Thorne's] position is he followed procedure."
Warning: Violence, Graphic Language