A deputy has been fired after he put a 12-year-old girl in the hospital. The trouble started on March 3, when Jack Danford was at a BBQ restaurant with his daughter and her boyfriend. The 12-year-old girl was chasing her small dog around the restaurant near Danford’s table when he seemed to suddenly snap.
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According to the Miami Harold, Danford, who worked for Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Texas since 2005, picked up the small dog when it came near him, petted it and set it back on the ground. When the girl came by his table to play with the dog, Danford attacked.
Witnesses who were at the restaurant gave a chilling account of Danford’s actions. They reported that he suddenly jumped out of his seat, tackled the girl to the ground and then began punching the young girl in the face.
Russell Cope, the 12-year-old’s stepfather, explained what he saw when he looked over at a commotion. “I seen him on top of her, he was hammer-fisting her, it was like UFC style,” he recalled. Copeland tried to protect his stepdaughter. “I was punching him and it wasn’t even [fazing] him, it wasn’t even doing nothing.”
Having to think on the fly, Cope told The Morning Caller he knew exactly what would put an end the madness — a steel toe boot to the head. “I went to whooping on him, and I knocked him out cold.”
According to Danford’s daughter, her father had allegedly been drinking heavily all day. The notion that he was under the influence was only substantiated when fellow officers, who arrived on the scene shortly after Danford was knocked unconscious, wrote in the police report Danford smelled strongly of alcohol.
Danford was arrested and charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and injury to a child. The child was taken to a nearby hospital for bruising, swelling and scratches on her face and abdomen.
The manager of the restaurant, Will Atkins, was at a loss for words when he was interviewed by CBS Austin. “I was shocked because I knew he was a detective and I thought that they were held to higher standards that there was no way that that would happen, especially to a 12 year old girl,” Atkins said. “Nobody has any idea, there was no reasoning, no logical explanation.”
The 12-year-old girl “thought she was going to die” during the unprovoked attack from a man she had never met before, according to family members. Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody issued an apology on the department’s Twitter account. Danford was fired from his department job and has been released on bail with the condition that he seeks a psychological evaluation.