Law enforcement officers have difficult jobs. Often, they are tasked to deal with dangerous criminals and frequently face public criticism. Unfortunately, a Missouri sheriff and a deputy now face criminal charges, including assault.
The 48-year-old sheriff was first elected in 2012. Since his election, several employees have left or been terminated. However, his actions came under additional scrutiny, reportedly in part due to his relationship with a 38-year-old woman he reportedly had a romantic relationship with and hired to serve as a deputy under him.
The pair now face multiple criminal charges, including first-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child, harassment, unlawful use of a weapon, false impersonation and misuse of official information by a public servant. While some of the details of the charges are unclear, reports claim that the sheriff allowed the woman to engage in certain law enforcement activities before she was a commissioned officer, including acting as an undercover officer and conducting searches. Reports also accuse the woman of bringing a child to a jail and allowing the latter to be around inmates described as violent and dangerous; the sheriff, according to reports, was aware of the child’s presence at the jail.
There is often much more to a story that what is initially printed in the media. As such, those accused or suspected of a crime, such as assault, in Missouri are are presumed not guilty unless prosecutors are able to provide sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard is purposefully set high and is often difficult to meet.