Kendall sheriff: Deputy broke courtesy, not rules in pulling gun at Walmart
Beacon-News Staff March 7, 2013 4:42PM
Jason Thurmond, charged with shoving an off-duty Kendall County police officer, leaves the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville during a break on the first day of the trial on Monday, November 5, 2012. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 9, 2013 11:47AM
The Kendall County sheriff’s office has concluded an off-duty deputy did not violate department rules when he pulled a gun on a shopper in a crowded Oswego Walmart store last year.
But his words during an exchange with Montgomery resident Jason Thurmond on Feb. 5, 2012, did break the rules and were lacking in courtesy enough to warrant discipline, the report says.
In response to a request from The Beacon-News, the sheriff’s office Thursday afternoon released the report on its internal investigation into the incident involving Deputy Craig French, Thurmond and Thurmond’s pregnant wife on Super Bowl Sunday of 2012.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Kendall County Board unanimously approved a settlement with Thurmond for $20,000. The board will pay the money, and the rest of a lawsuit brought by Thurmond will be dropped. Approval came after about a 15-minute closed session, and after State’s Attorney Eric Weis explained that even if the county were to prevail in the lawsuit, it would cost at least $25,000 to defend — the deductible on the county’s insurance.
In a letter to Thurmond included in the report, Sheriff Richard Randall stated that, although French’s actions did not violate any rule or regulation of the sheriff’s office, his words may have. “French did not display the courtesy and decorum I expect from my employees, and thereby tended to lessen the confidence and esteem of the public in the Office of the Sheriff,” Randall wrote.
French got into an argument with the couple in a check-out line at the Walmart on Route 34, complaining that Thurmond’s wife, Nicole Healy-Thurmond, had too many items in the express lane. Thurmond has said French took a step forward, and Thurmond pushed him back. French then pulled out his revolver. No one was injured in the incident.
According to the letter from Randall, French’s comments to Nicole Healy-Thurmond were in violation of sheriff’s office’s rules of off-duty conduct, image and public confidence. “Discipline that is sufficient to prevent such conduct from occurring in the future will be imposed upon Deputy French for this rule violation,” Randall wrote.
The sheriff’s report is available at www.co.kendall.il.us/sheriff. Thurmond was charged with battery in the incident, but was found not guilty last November by a jury.