Deputy resigns, video shows teen grabbed by throat

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2011 3:18 PM
Deputy resigns, video shows teen grabbed by throat

A sheriff's deputy in Montana is charged with mistreating a prisoner after authorities say he was caught on tape grabbing a handcuffed teenage girl by the throat and pushing her against a wall.

Thomas L. Madsen resigned last Thursday, a day before the felony charge was filed in District Court in Gallatin County, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Court records said the 17-year-old girl shut the lights off in an interrogation room because she wanted to sleep. Madsen told the girl to leave the lights on and repeatedly told her to either lie down or sit down, according to court documents.

"You turn the lights off, you're going to find yourself in a whole world of hurt, girl," Madsen is heard telling her, beginning a verbal exchange between the two that ended with her rejecting a final request to sit down.

Madsen "then enters the room quickly, grabbing the female by the throat and pushing her backwards against the wall," court documents say in describing the video. "He holds her there for approximately 5-7 seconds."

Madsen grabbed the girl with such force that "her hair is momentarily extended due to the rapid movement," according to the documents.

Bozeman Police Sgt. Colton Schumacher then entered the room, reached "calmly between the defendant" and the girl, and Madsen stepped back, court records said.

After the Feb. 9 confrontation, the girl told investigators she was being held as a runaway and wanted to turn the lights off so she could sleep. She said Madsen choked her, "she couldn't really breathe and that it hurt."

Madsen told a state investigator that he did not intend to hurt the girl, but wanted "to scare her into complying and get her attention," records said.

Both Madsen and the girl said that when she had been detained in January she tried to "knee" Madsen in the crotch to get away from law enforcement.

Sheriff Jim Cashell said Madsen had been on administrative leave since the confrontation.

Undersheriff Brian Gootskin said Madsen had been with the department for seven or eight years. He was ordered to appear in court at a later date.