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Franklin County public defenders question judgment of deputy who attended Capitol riot

deputy farmer capitol.png
Posted at 3:19 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 19:14:36-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — LEX 18 received an email Friday from public defenders at the Franklin County trial office addressed to Franklin County Sheriff Chris Quire. The public defenders voiced concerns over the conduct of Deputy Jeff Farmer, a detective who attended the events at the U.S. Capitol last week, writing his conduct conflicts with the values expressed by the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.

"What we're saying is that the individuals who went there knowing the president was calling for a disruption to peaceful transition of government," Nathan Goodrich, with the public defender's office, said. "He should have known he was participating in actions that were likely to lead to violence against the constitutional order."

Quire said in a statement he has not seen any evidence that Farmer committed any crime. However, the department is reassigning Farmer and the sheriff says a thorough investigation of all accusations made in the letter will be conducted.

LEX 18 previously spoke with Farmer about his journey to the Capitol. Farmer says he never reached the Capitol steps and when rioters stormed the building, he said he turned around and left.

"They deserve to go to jail for what they did," Farmer said.

The public defenders responded to Quire's statement:

We want to thank the people of Franklin County who have reached out in support of our letter on Friday to Sheriff Quire. We have reviewed his response and have the following observations. Police departments across the nation are reviewing their officers’ actions in Washington D.C. on January 6 and have announced that they are cooperating with the FBI in determining whether their officers violated any laws during the assault on the Capitol. Sheriff Quire’s response does not provide assurances that he is doing so.

While Deputy Farmer exercises his First Amendment rights, we feel we are equally entitled to do so to speak out against Deputy Farmer’s involvement with the “Stop the Steal” march. We believe that the allegations of voter fraud that Deputy Farmer stands for are an easily refutable lie. As a peace officer, Deputy Farmer must make decisions based on what people tell him and determine whether they are credible in order to make arrests and detain people. If Deputy Farmer stands for baseless conspiracy theories against the laws of the country, how easily will he succumb to other lies resulting in the wrongful arrest or detention of innocent people?

Community leaders have made Sheriff Quire aware of their concerns about racial profiling by Deputy Farmer for some time now. We hope that his investigation into our concerns initiates more of a response than their concerns have received. We call on his investigation to be open, independent, and thorough. This state has seen enough whitewashing investigations into police conduct. As public defenders we support Due Process and support Sheriff Quire’s decision to extend Deputy Farmer the same due process our clients are entitled to.