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Montgomery County mother said she had questions about deputy long before he was fired

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Posted at 7:03 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 16:45:17-04

(LEX 18) — A Montgomery County mother said that she had questions about a sheriff’s deputy long before he was fired earlier this year.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, alleges that former Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy Richard “Jordan” Perri punched her 13-year-old son with special needs during a call to her home in 2020.

In January of this year, Perri was fired by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office after a reported off-duty attack at a gas station. Perri was charged with fourth-degree assault, wanton endangerment and strangulation in that case. He’s accused of attacking a gas station owner over a snow removal dispute.

The mother of the boy in the 2020 incident shared a video of what happened with LEX 18.

The video shows a boy pinned to the ground by a man, who she said was Perri. The man at one point yanks a hand away from the boy and says “bite me again,” before appearing to strike the boy.

The call that brought deputies to the mother’s house that day was listed in a dispatch log as a “domestic.” LEX 18 obtained audio of the 9-1-1 call – in it, the boy’s mother can be heard asking for an ambulance for her son and saying that her son was being combative and trying to stab her with a stick.

“I was on the phone with the social worker and she said for me to call you all to get an ambulance out here to get him to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation,” the mother can be heard saying on the 9-1-1 call.

The mother told LEX 18 that her son has mental health issues and had recently been taken off his medications. As a result, he’d been irritable and having problems, she said.

She filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office after the incident, saying that Perri had punched her son. She said that the complaint went nowhere, but Sheriff David Charles said that the mother had requested that nothing happen to the deputy.

“She just wanted to make sure he wasn't around her son and that he knew the proper way to treat people such as this with these problems,” Charles said.

The boy’s mother said she never wanted the complaint dropped.

In his own memo about what happened, Perri wrote that he used a “closed hand strike” on the boy, according to the records released by the sheriff’s office.

Charles told LEX 18 that he did not see a clear version of the video of the incident until we showed it to him during the interview. He said that if he had, the reprimand given to Perri would have been more severe.

Charles told LEX 18 that Perri was verbally reprimanded and given more training after the incident. There was no record of the conclusion of the internal investigation of the incident or the recommendation for reprimand given to LEX 18.

“I do not take these things lightly,” Charles said. “I demonstrated that during the last case - that I do not tolerate this behavior.”

When LEX 18 obtained a copy of Perri’s personnel file shortly after the gas station incident this January, there was no record of the 2020 incident.

Last week, Charles said that the documents had been left out of the personnel file because it was still with the office’s open investigation records.

“It should not have been there,” Charles said. “The case was finished. It was an oversight, it should not have been there. It was an oversight, I apologize for that.”

During an interview with LEX 18 last week, Charles released the documents that were missing from the original file.

The sheriff’s office has seen an uptick in cases involving people with mental health issues, Charles said.

“The amount of it occurring in children now is astronomical,” Charles said. “It is becoming an emergent crisis as I see it, it's there, we deal with it on a daily basis.”

While the sheriff and the child’s mother’s accounts differ on some points, both said that hitting the child was not how to handle the 2020 situation.

“He's a young man struggling with an illness, he's not a criminal,” Charles said.