Report: Former deputy held gun to suspect's head

After repeatedly kicking a suspect in the head, a former Huron County deputy held a gun to the man's head with his finger on the trigger.
Annie Zelm
Jan 29, 2011


After repeatedly kicking a suspect in the head, a former Huron County deputy held a gun to the man's head with his finger on the trigger.

Another officer was so concerned that he intervened by pushing the gun away, according to documents Sheriff Dane Howard released this week after law officials decided not to charge the deputy.

While Deputy Joseph Leroux held the gun to the back of Jeremy Payne's head, Payne lay handcuffed with his face in the dirt, the Ashland County Sheriff's investigator wrote in his report after Huron County forwarded the case to him for an independent evaluation.

Leroux resigned in November in lieu of termination.

Sandusky prosecutor Lynne Gast King recommended not charging him after she examined Payne's medical records and the investigative reports.

King said earlier this week although she didn't necessarily agree with Leroux's actions, she could find no evidence he'd injured Payne.

Norwalk law director Stuart O'Hara agreed with her recommendation, opting not to charge him.

Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard said that doesn't change the fact that Leroux deserved to be fired.

"There is no evidence that the suspect was resisting in any manner," Howard wrote after reviewing the investigative reports. "In fact, there is compelling evidence that the suspect was compliant. Further, the deputy's actions were not consistent with the policies of this office. ... Deputy Leroux used force that was not necessary, and compromised himself, the suspect and this office, as well as extending our liability."

Leroux and others from multiple agencies arrested Payne and his brother Oct. 30 after the two allegedly stole a snow blower in Fremont and started a heroin-fueled chase that ended when the Paynes crashed on U.S. 250 near Norwalk.

As Leroux exited his cruiser, he drew his pistol in one hand and his taser in the other, according to testimony he provided during Ashland County's investigation.

Holding two weapons of different strengths at the same time was his first mistake, according to the Ashland County detective.

Leroux said when Jeremy Payne refused to come out of the pickup truck, he pulled him out and ordered him onto the ground.

He said he aimed a kick at Payne's shoulders but accidentally struck his head when the pickup truck rolling into the cruiser distracted him.

Leroux argued he kicked Payne to let him know "I mean business" when Payne wouldn't show his hands. He admitted he held his pistol to Payne's head even though the suspect complied with his orders, but said he couldn't recall whether his finger was on the trigger.

When asked why he'd used more force when Payne was cooperating, his only explanation was that he acted on adrenaline.

His statements contrast testimony given by Payne and law enforcement officials who witnessed the incident.

Norwalk police Sgt. Jim Montana testified Leroux was already handcuffed when he pushed the pistol away from Payne's head. Sheriff's Capt. Bob McLaughlin said Leroux later asked, "Would you have backed me up if I shot him?"


Julie R.

Oh wow! Now this is a lot more serious than the field-goal kick to the head. And that joke in the Erie County prosecutor's office recommended no charges?


OMG, I hope I never run amok of the law and into an officer like that!


I think it is pretty honorable that Sgt. Jim Montana stood up and told the truth against a fellow LE officer.  Good for you Sgt. Montana.  

thinkagain's picture

"Would you have backed me up if I shot him?"

That about sums up the deception Officer No Neck is capable of in the performance of his duties.  I’m glad there was honest, professional Officers on the scene to dispute Officer Curly’s lies.


 This story just got much worse.  Yes, FST it is honorable for Sgt. Montana to have been honest about the situation.  I am glad that Sheriff Howard did, what seems to be, a thorough investigation.  Jeremy Payne was absolutely in the wrong for what he did.  Theft, heroine, and leading officers on a chase; these things are not to be taken lightly.  However, Leroux's actions are totally unacceptable. 

 Yes, this Deputy has resigned, but it really seems as though SOME action should be taken against him.  Actions such as those taken by Deputy Leroux taint the image of the many men and women who admirably serve to protect and act with professionalism, integrity, and within the law. 


Who read the file on the Norwalk Reflector? Norwalk PD reports, where Montana said he arrived

witnessed Joe holding gun on suspect, and then MONTANA put the cuffs on Payne, removed items

from his pockets, and placed him in the cruiser??   This is just more public lynching of Joe Leroux,

because someone on Shady Lane did not get his way!  I pray Dane Howard is only a 1 term sheriff,

How many OFFICERS  have left his department?  And Why?  

  Read all the pdf files and reports, not just some of them... So was Payne handcuffed when kicked ? 

I believe not, was he handcuffed when resisting? Probably not. And who handcuffed him MONTANA??   

Lets not just believe everything that comes from Shady Lane, cause it has been SHADED by someone! 

my oh my

So if I go out on the street and kick someone in the head even just one time I won't be charged with anything????? That's unbelievable.....Who is paying who under the table????


OK. No criminal charges. If it makes you feel better, we can expect civil charges. Will we whine that those are "frivolous?"


How dare that deputy carry a side arm and use it to defend himself against that thug!

Looks like the thug got on the wrong side of the business meeting!


Truth or Dare

By no means am I supporting the actions of these men, but this makes me sick!   

Too every police officer out there like Sgt. Montana, and the rest,  THANK YOU!  For those like Leroux, you do a grave dis-service to all LE! 

 To the  "special"  prosecutor who made the decision she did......... You chose to ignore such important aspects/details  of this investigation?  You should resign immediatley! 

To Payne's family, they  should contact the Southern Poverty Law Center @ 400 Washington Ave. - Montgomery, AL. 36104  or call 334-956-8200.   Their Legal Director is Mary Bauer.   Founder and Chief Trial Counsel is Morris Dees.  Founder & General Counsel is Joseph J. Levin, Jr..   This is a # to request their publication of their  "Intelligence Report",  which reports inciidents on the topic of "Police Brutality" within the U.S..   You may also write to them or fax a letter to 334-956-8488, or email them @    They are a non-profit organization.  Figure if we're gonna be area in the limelight for "landmark decisions" regarding provisional balloting,  it's time this come to the forefront as well.  It never will as long as those who, like the prosecutor, are willing to take no action, leaving it to the civil courts!    


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines



Tax Payer,  you are right about this being a Political Sheriff, out for points from those who do

not see thru his SHADY Lane, ways!    Joe may not be employed by LE at this time, but has

1 year to find other LE employment.   If Sheriff Howard can prevent that he will, using any tactics

he can to discredit the person.  OPOTA Certificates are good for 1 year, after employment ends

with one agency, and if you are not re-established you can apply for an extension due to the

lack of Jobs in this country.   Remember to read all the pdf files, not just some! 

Remember this criminal Payne risked the lives of all Officers, and Civilians that night!

JOE has resigned, and now that charges are not being filed, he should be given respect to let

this issue die!   He has a family to provide for, and I pray Joe can find employment and support

his family, as his children need food, clothing, shelter and MEDICAL.  God Bless! 



Held a gun to the head of an unarmed handcuffed man.  Scumbag!!!  Any civilian does this and they are in jail.


He held a loaded weapon to the skull of a cuffed prisoner. We have combat vets currently serving lengthy sentences over political correctness with prisoners let alone HOLDING A LOADED FIREARM AGAINST THE SKULL OF A CUFFED HUMAN BEING mafia and gangster wanabees pull this stuff, thats the mentality of an action like that. he should be carged and this should follow him for the GOOD of law enforcment.

Dinghy Gal

Was he paid in doughnuts?


@Dinghy Gal - way too funny! 


My question is, "Why, everytime we see a newspaper picture of a Deputy Sheriff, and I don't care which county, he always has more chins than a Chinese phone book, but when the papers publish a photo of a local LE officer, he (she) always looks like a model from the Law Enforcement Digest?



Another ones gone, and another one bites the dust!  How many officers does that make that have

retired, been fired, or resigned.  Who is next on Howard's Hunting list?  Something is really SHADY

on SHADY Lane!    Who was arrested in Greenwich this week with 27 balloons of heroin, the former

inmate who jumped?  Who always has some drugs on him? 

 Read the report from Norwalk PD, Montana handcuffed Payne,

he was not cuffed when kicked, or held at gun point,  until help arrived for officer  Joe Leroux. 

Joe is not the first and not the last Deputy that will be given the ultimatum, resign or be fired!!

Someday the lack of Trust and Respect  given the Officers, will come back and bite him 301 in his SHADY Lane Office!!



I would like to say i defended this officer when the original article came out. But after reading the updated article today I was wrong.  I still dont know if he should be charged because i wasnt there and in the heat of the moment and chaos who knows what the true story is. But i am glad he has resigned and am suprised there wasnt charges and let a jury decide his fate. 


I find it extremely interesting that we are constantly writing articles in the paper about how bad the cops are.   First of all  sheriff Howard should start protecting  his deputies because not every issue is one that should require an officer to resign.  I am sure in the heat of the moment after a car chase not everything is exactly as other people say.   I feel that the sheriff is playing more to the public than his deputies.   I have a solution to this problem pay them enough money than you will get top of line officers.  From my observations we tend to care more about the criminals than we do law enforcement.  Make no mistake I believe the law enforcement officers should obey the law as Well as enforce the law.  There's a fine line between pertecting yourself politically and predicting the deputies or officers that are on your department.   I believe it is very important to constantly criticized the police or deputies that is a bigger issue than constant criticism of the individual that are being incarcerated. 


The Sheriff and his Deputies are paid from taxpayers money and he SHOULD play more to the public than his Deputies.  LE protecting eachother even when one is in the wrong has been an ongoing problem for some time now.  I think it is good that the Sheriff is going about these issues the way he is.  If  a deputy hasn`t done anything wrong,then he/she has nothing to worry about. Right?  It is about time public officials realize who they work for and who pays their wages.

Mrs. Jones