Former Boulder County sergeant sentenced to probation in jail incident

Jan. 31—A former sergeant with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office convicted of using a stun gun on an restrained Black inmate at the Boulder County Jail was sentenced to probation.

Christopher Mecca, 52, was found guilty in Boulder County Court of misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and official misconduct on Dec. 3 following a four-day trial.

On Monday, Mecca was sentenced to two years of probation, time-served and 60 hours of community service. Mecca will have to take a Making Better Decisions class, and screenings for mental health treatment and restorative justice.

Both charges also require Mecca's peace officer certification to be permanently revoked.

"We appreciate the service of the jurors in finding the defendant guilty of assault in the third degree and first-degree official misconduct," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in a statement. "What the defendant did to the victim, Mr. Cole, was disturbing and wholly unnecessary. This man's actions were inconsistent with the outstanding work by the many members of law enforcement in Boulder County. The immediate response to his actions, from the sheriff's office and the Longmont police officers who were present, demonstrated that the defendant's conduct was unacceptable and a clear violation. That type of response is what our community wants and expects from law enforcement and the justice system in the face of such an egregious act.

"At (Monday)'s sentencing, Mr. Mecca's apology and acceptance of responsibility were significant to the victim and the court."

Mecca has filed a notice of appeal and made a motion for the sentence to be stayed until the appeal is addressed was granted.

According to a news release, a 32-year-old Black man was brought to the jail Sept. 23, 2020, on a domestic violence case and was reported to have been combative with officers and intoxicated. When he arrived at the jail he "purposely went limp buckling at the knees as a means of being passively resistant."

Mecca, one of the on-duty supervisors, instructed deputies to secure the man in a restraint chair. As deputies were placing him in the restraint chair and securing the straps, the man was reportedly verbally uncooperative, began spitting at staff, and attempted to bite at least one deputy, but deputies were able to maintain control of his movements and keep him from spitting by utilizing a spit sock.

While the inmate was restrained, Mecca used a stun gun on the leg of the inmate for five seconds.

Mecca self-reported the incident, and was placed on administrative leave before later resigning in lieu of termination. Mecca was hired by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office in 2007 and had no prior allegations of excessive force.