Crime and Justice

Franklin County sheriff fires embattled deputy, will no longer back his election bid

Capt. John Grismore, center, can be seen kicking a man in custody at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 7. Screenshot courtesy of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office

Updated at 5:53 p.m.

Franklin County Sheriff Roger Langevin said he has fired the captain who was caught on video earlier this month kicking a suspect in police custody.

In addition, Langevin said in an email Wednesday, he is no longer supporting John Grismore’s bid to replace him as sheriff this fall. Despite bipartisan calls for Grismore, a Republican, to pull out of the race, he is expected to remain on the ballot

Vermont State Police are investigating Grismore in connection with the alleged assault on Aug. 7. Body camera footage released by the department shows Grismore kick a man multiple times who was shackled to a bench at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Langevin said Grismore was terminated Aug. 18. He said it would be “improper” for him to comment on an ongoing investigation, though he called the incident “egregious.”

“The actions of Capt. Grismore do not reflect the values and high standards of conduct and performance that I expect from my staff each and every day,” he said. 

In addition, Langevin said he has notified the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council about the incident, per state law, and that organization may institute sanctions, which could include revoking Grismore’s law enforcement certification. 

Grismore won the Republican primary for sheriff earlier this month and garnered enough write-in votes to appear on the Democratic ticket in November. After the incident was made public, the Franklin County Republican and Democratic committees condemned Grismore and called on him to withdraw from the sheriff’s race.

In a statement Wednesday, Franklin County Democrats Chair Zach Scheffler reiterated those calls, noting that Grismore could still request that the Secretary of State remove his name from the ballot before Friday, which is the printing deadline.

Representatives from both committees said they are looking to back another candidate, though it was not clear early this week who that would be. 

Reached on the phone Wednesday afternoon, Grismore declined to comment on his termination or his actions in the video but said he is planning to address “the media and the public” about the situation soon. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described Grismore's status on the ballot.

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Shaun Robinson

About Shaun

Shaun Robinson is a Report for America corps member with a special focus on issues of importance to Franklin and Grand Isle counties. He is a journalism graduate of Boston University, with a minor in political science. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Patriot Ledger of Quincy and the Cape Cod Times.

Email: [email protected]

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