A Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy who could face trial on a felony charge of assaulting a Sonoma Valley man he was trying to detain five months ago was hired by the county despite his checkered and limited job history with two other law enforcement agencies.
Scott Thorne, 40, was arrested and charged in January with felony assault by an officer, marking an exceptionally rare case in Sonoma County involving prosecution of a law enforcement officer for an on-duty incident.
Thorne, a Walnut Creek resident, left the Sheriff’s Office within weeks of the Sept. 24 altercation, where prosecutors say he used a stun gun on the Boyes Hot Springs man as he lay in his own bed, then struck the man with his baton.
Thorne, who has pleaded not guilty, began his career in law enforcement 15 years ago, but before he joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2015, his work history as a sworn officer totaled less than two years.
His first policing job, in Richmond, ended after 10 months in 2002 while he was the subject of three complaints and a civil rights lawsuit.
In subsequent years, he held a state license to work as an armed security guard, and his jobs included a stint with an El Dorado County fire district.
He landed a job as a correctional deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department in 2007, but he was dismissed a year later, records show.
His arrest and prosecution in connection with the Boyes Hot Springs incident, which resulted from a domestic violence call, could represent an unprecedented move in Sonoma County.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said there’s been no similar case in recent memory involving criminal prosecution of an officer for an on-duty incident.
Richmond police and city human resources officials did not respond to questions about how long they keep personnel files and what information they provide other agencies.
Thorne faces up to three years in jail if convicted and a felony assault conviction could prohibit Thorne from seeking future employment in law enforcement. It could also prevent him from becoming a lawyer.
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