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Committee discourages impeachment of Vermont sheriff accused of kicking suspect

A special legislative committee in Vermont has recommended against impeachment proceedings for Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore, but urged that he resign from office.

A special legislative committee recommended against impeachment Tuesday of a Vermont sheriff charged with assault for kicking a shackled prisoner but said the sheriff is doing a disservice by remaining in office.

A resolution to be introduced in the House by committee members on Wednesday urges Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore to resign "for the good of the people of Franklin County."

"While the Committee is not recommending articles of impeachment for Sheriff Grismore, they made it clear that Mr. Grismore remaining in office is a detriment to the citizens of Franklin County," House Speaker Jill Krowinski said in a statement. "The Committee heard from many individuals, and while the report lays out a list of concerning actions that are completely unacceptable of an elected official, it does not meet the high bar for impeachment."

VERMONT SHERIFF ACCUSED OF KICKING SHACKLED PRISONER PRESSURED TO RESIGN

Grismore did not immediately return an email seeking comment. He told WCAX-TV that the recommendation not to pursue articles of impeachment is a vindication of what he knew all along.

Grismore was elected sheriff in November 2022, a few months after he was fired from his position as a captain in the sheriff’s department for kicking a shackled prisoner. He pleaded not guilty to a simple assault charge.

Grismore was the only candidate on the ballot after winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the Aug. 9, 2022, primary. Just before he took office in February 2023, state police said they were investigating the finances of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and Grismore.

In December, the Vermont Criminal Justice Council found that he violated the state’s use of force policy and voted 15-1 that he permanently lose his law enforcement certification, which means he is unable to enforce the law in Vermont. A special legislative committee was formed last May to investigate possible impeachment.

The committee said in the report released Tuesday that it believes it's important for a sheriff to be able to fulfill law enforcement duties and should get ongoing law enforcement training, which is not available to a decertified officer. It also said it believes that a sheriff should show and uphold "the highest standards of honesty, integrity, conduct, and service."

"Through his conduct prior to taking office and his continued insistence that his use of force was appropriate, Mr. Grismore demonstrates none of these," the committee said.

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