Former Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christopher Mecca was convicted of assault and official misconduct in connection with the incident.
BOULDER, Colo. — A man who was shocked with a stun gun while restrained in jail in September 2020 is suing Boulder County, the sheriff and several commanders and deputies with the sheriff’s office.
Former Boulder County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Christopher Andrew Mecca was convicted in December of third-degree assault and official misconduct, both misdemeanors, in connection with the incident.
On Sept. 23, 2020, Travis Cole was arrested by Longmont Police Department officers and was taken to the Boulder County Jail. At the jail, Cole was strapped into a restraint chair that immobilized his limbs, and two “spit sock” bags were put over his head because he was being uncooperative, according to Mecca’s arrest affidavit.
At one point Cole shouted “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go,” along with expletives, at deputies, and challenged them to a fight, the affidavit says.
While Cole was restrained, the affidavit says, Mecca said, “You wanna go? You wanna go? We can go. You wanna go?” to Cole and pressed a stun gun against his leg.
Mecca then activated the stun gun for about five seconds, shocking Cole while eight other deputies looked on and did not intervene, the lawsuit says.
According to the affidavit, Cole yelled “Whoooaa!!! HAHA!!!!! Do it again, do it again,” then “Let’s go!” Mecca is heard saying “Chump.” The two continued back and forth as Cole was wheeled into the booking area, according to the affidavit.
The lawsuit says deputies left Cole fully restrained in the chair and in an isolation cell for four hours.
Another Boulder County sergeant said Mecca showed him body camera video of the incident and asked “how he thought it looked,” the arrest affidavit says. Mecca also said using the stun gun looked better than punching Cole, and that he used force against Cole because the shoulder straps were not completely secured.
The sergeant said the use of stun guns had been taken away from jail deputies due to a policy change, and they were still trying to figure out how to deal with similar situations involving uncooperative inmates, according to the affidavit.
The sheriff’s office said in a release announcing Mecca’s arrest that the use of the stun gun was against department policy, and was determined to be both unnecessary and excessive use of force.
“I am deeply troubled about the unnecessary force used, as it is contrary to the mission, vision, and values of what the sheriff’s office stands for,” Sheriff Joe Pelle said at the time of Mecca’s arrest. “While former sergeant Mecca’s underlying motivation isn’t known, the unnecessary application of force on a person of color is especially concerning.”
“How is a man tied to a chair a threat?” Cole said in a written statement provided by his attorney Thursday. “Being black didn’t warrant that kind of treatment, humiliation, to be tied up for hours and degraded. I’ve never felt so defeated, and I couldn’t even protect my body.”
The lawsuit names Boulder County, Sheriff Joe Pelle, Mecca, and several commanders and deputies as defendants.
Mecca was sentenced to 60 hours in jail and two years of community service for the assault and misconduct convictions, according to court documents. He resigned from his position in lieu of termination.
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