According to a Cortez police report and statements from Lt. Andy Brock, state parole officer Ryan Jenkins attempted to deliver paperwork to French at his home on North Texas Street about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
French “became upset,” aggressive and used vulgar language, the report states. Armed with a knotted sock that contained a rock at its end, French “slammed the weapon into his hand” and told Jenkins to leave.
As French approached him, Jenkins said he removed his Taser and ordered him to stop. When French continued toward him, Jenkins deployed his Taser.
French fell, then stood up, removed the Taser probes and picked up the weapon. Jenkins stunned him again, and French stayed down, according to the report.
Four Cortez police officers then arrived, responding to Jenkins’ call for an “officer needing assistance,” in which he stated that French was lying on the ground.
“We went there just as a backup to help another officer out and found him and picked him up,” Brock said.
No members of the Cortez Police Department deployed their Tasers during the incident, the police report said.
The officers arrested French on menacing with a deadly weapon, a Class 5 felony, and first-degree assault against a peace officer, a Class 3 felony.
The Colorado Revised Statute for assault against a peace officer states an act can be considered assault if the individual shows intent to cause serious bodily injury and threatens the officer with a deadly weapon.
“Basically you just have to have an intent, you don’t actually have to strike or shove or do any of that other stuff, it’s just an intent to,” Brock said. “And he showed an intent in our opinion.”
French, 42, is in custody at Montezuma County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
Brock said French is on parole with the Colorado Department of Corrections stemming from a July 2017 incident in which French left district court and assaulted two deputies. DOC spokesperson Adrienne Jacobson stated in an email to The Journal that French was convicted on an escape charge, incarcerated and paroled.
Tuesday’s incident is one of several encounters involving French and Cortez police. French was found not guilty in 22nd Judicial District Court in 2014 on all charges relating to the alleged stabbing of a Cortez police officer.
Then-police officer Casey Eubanks suffered a quarter-inch nick on the left side of his stomach. The wound was treated with a Band-Aid, according to court testimony.
On Feb. 5, 2016, three members of the French family filed a lawsuit against the city of Cortez, officers Eubanks, Jennifer Lodge (also known as Jennifer Goodall), Boyd Neagle, Ryan Carter, Sgt. David Allmon and Chief Roy Lane.
The complaint seeks damages that arose out of the “unconstitutional conduct” of the six employees. It states police were called to help the French family, but they instead illegally entered the home and broke down the door and proceeded to “beat down” and repeatedly tase French, who is a qualified individual with a disability.
“The Defendants misperceived the effects of Shane French’s disability as criminal activity,” the 2016 complaint states.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for emotional distress, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship with family members after he was jailed for 297 days and found not guilty, appropriate relief at law, punitive damages and attorney fees.
According to U.S. District Court documents, the civil case is set for a seven-day jury trial in Denver beginning Sept. 16, but case could be settled during a settlement conference on May 2.