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Sheridan police officer found not guilty in 2021 alleged chokehold incident

Officer Shawn Ralph Sheridan bodycam alleged chokehold incident 2021
Posted at 9:47 PM, Feb 10, 2023

SHERIDAN, Colo. — A Sheridan police officer was found not guilty of third-degree assault and attempted third-degree assault following an alleged chokehold incident in 2021.

The video of the September 3, 2021, incident shows police arresting a woman suspected of shoplifting at a 7-Eleven on Federal Boulevard.

The woman, who was handcuffed, is seen spitting on an officer and then being taken down to the ground in an apparent chokehold by the officer, who was later identified as Shawn Ralph.

Watch a portion of the video in the player below. Warning: Strong language

Body cam footage of alleged chokehold incident

Ralph was charged with attempted second-degree assault, which is a class 6 felony. Colorado law prohibits officers from using chokeholds on people after lawmakers passed Senate Bill 217 in 2020.

The sergeant at the scene intervened and told Ralph to “relax” and took Ralph’s hands off the woman, who complained about hitting her head on the pavement. She was taken to Swedish Medical Center for an evaluation and was released “without any noted substantial injury,” according to an affidavit.

A jury in the 18th Judicial District Court found Ralph not guilty Friday of third-degree assault and attempted third-degree assault, the Sheridan Police Department said.

The officer has been on administrative leave since the incident and will now rejoin the department, the department said Friday.

Sheridan PD said it will conduct an internal investigation and "take appropriate action based upon the outcome of the investigation."

"We are committed to providing the best training for our officers on how to properly respond, and more importantly, how to react to all situations they may be confronted with," the department said.

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