Fired Vt. Deputy Who Was Charged With Assault Wins Sheriff Race

John Grismore, who was seen on video kicking a prisoner days before the August primary, was the only candidate on the general election ballot after winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations

John Grismore, a captain with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Vermont, is running for sheriff, but a video showing him kicking a detained man in the groin has Republicans and Democrats alike calling for him to pull out of the race
Franklin County Sheriff's Office

A fired Vermont sheriff's deputy who was charged with assault for kicking a shackled prisoner has won the election for sheriff of the county in which he served.

John Grismore, 49, of Fairfax, won Tuesday's race to become Franklin County sheriff, surpassing the two write-in candidates, according to the Vermont secretary of state's office.

Grismore was the only candidate on the ballot after winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the Aug. 9 primary. But he was suspended and then fired after a video showing Grismore kicking a prisoner on Aug. 7 was publicized the day after the primary.

His treatment of this handcuffed and shackled man in early August — who investigators say was also drunk — already cost John Grismore his job in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

The county Republican and Democratic parties then threw their support behind the write-in candidacy of Sheriff's department Lt. Mark Lauer, a 27-year Vermont State Police veteran who has been at the department for nearly a decade.

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Grismore said Monday he appreciates that "voters were afforded an opportunity to understand the facts and circumstances." He contends that the information about his suspension, which he called a personnel matter, and the video were "leaked" without context. He also has maintained that he used the minimum amount of force necessary to prevent the prisoner from spitting on him and other deputies.

"I think a lot of people could see that this sure felt like a political ploy to undermine a campaign," he said in a phone interview.

Mark Lauer is mounting a write-in campaign against John Grismore, with the endorsement of the party that previously backed Grismore

In August, current Sheriff Roger Langevin called Grismore's actions "egregious" and said he had been notified by deputies. He referred the case to the Franklin County State's Attorney's Office, which requested a state police review.

Last month, Grismore pleaded not guilty to simple assault and said Monday that he's confident he will be acquitted.

Lauer said Monday that it was difficult race as a write-in candidate. "I had just about three months to do my campaigning and try to get my name out there," he said. "It was a difficult situation to be in."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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