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TMCNet:  Ex-deputy acquitted of assault on Clay County inmate

[November 16, 2012]

Ex-deputy acquitted of assault on Clay County inmate

Nov 16, 2012 (The Kansas City Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A former Clay County sheriff's deputy was acquitted Thursday of charges from an incident in which an inmate was repeatedly punched and squirted with pepper spray during an altercation in December 2008 that was videotaped.

Eric M. Bottorff of Cameron, Mo., was charged with one count of second-degree assault, a felony.

Bottorff was assigned to the Clay County Detention Center, where the incident occurred Dec. 22, 2008.

Authorities said the 29-year-old victim had been arrested by Claycomo police on a municipal warrant and was taken to the detention center, where he refused to cooperate with deputies. At some point, Bottorff squirted the man with pepper spray and punched him 15 times in less than two minutes.

The inmate, from Rosendale, Mo., north of St. Joseph, was treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises on his face.

The incident was caught on video surveillance and was shown during the three-day trial in Liberty.

The tape showed the inmate being transported into a holding cell in the detention center. Bottorff and other deputies asked the inmate if he had any drugs on him.

The inmate said he did, but he had consumed them. The deputies then had the inmate remove his clothes and ordered him to use the restroom so they could retrieve the drugs.

When it appeared that the inmate refused to cooperate, Bottorff squirted him with pepper spray. Then another deputy joined the altercation and punches were thrown as they tried to subdue the inmate.

"I'm not going to fight," the inmate is heard saying on the videotape. "I am not resisting. Help." The inmate's face was forced against the walls of the cell, causing him to bleed. He was later treated at a hospital.

Weeks after the incident, Bottorff was placed on administrative leave during an internal affairs investigation, and he was terminated Jan. 23, 2009.

The second deputy, Dusty Hancock of Grandview, was charged with third-degree misdemeanor assault. Hancock was acquitted in a separate bench trial.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send e-mail to

___ (c)2012 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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