Cop Charged in Beating Was Investigated for Sexting On Duty

click to enlarge Former STL officer James Daly was arrested this week on charges of beating a handcuffed man. - JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF
Former STL officer James Daly was arrested this week on charges of beating a handcuffed man.

An ex-De Soto police officer who was charged Wednesday with assault for allegedly beating a handcuffed man previously worked as a cop in St. Louis, where he was investigated by internal affairs and accused of masturbating on the job.

The officer, 55-year-old James Daly, is also the unnamed subject of an October report by KMOV which covered the outrage around a De Soto police officer's Halloween display that featured a graveyard and cross with the epitaph, "Here lies Michael Brown, a fat ghetto clown."

The Halloween display led to an internal investigation by the De Soto police department. The results of that investigation haven't been made public, but the Jefferson County Sheriff noted in a news release on Wednesday that Daly's job with De Soto had ended prior to him being charged in the alleged assault.

It wasn't the first time the public had complained about the veteran cop's behavior.

click to enlarge Photos of James Daly's Michael Brown-bashing Halloween display led to an internal investigation in October, KMOV reported. - SCREENSHOT VIA KMOV
Photos of James Daly's Michael Brown-bashing Halloween display led to an internal investigation in October, KMOV reported.

In October 2018, when Daly was an officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, a "female citizen" contacted a police investigator with screenshots and texts between her and Daly, "as well as a video recording of the officer masturbating while on duty at the South Patrol division station," according to a copy of the investigation file.

Daly became the subject of a misconduct report for "Alleged Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer" and was interviewed by the department's Internal Affairs division on December 12, 2018. In an email Monday, SLMPD spokeswoman Evita Caldwell said the department can only confirm Daly was employed there from 1999 to 2019.

"We would not discuss the results of an internal matter unless the investigation led to criminal charges," she wrote. "As such, we do not have anything further to provide."

This week, Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies arrested Daly and two other officers in connection to the beating of an unnamed victim during the "post-arrest booking procedure" at the De Soto Police station on September 30.

According to a probable cause statement, Daly "grasped and held the handcuffed victim by his hair and throat" and "then grasped the victim by his neck, pushed him onto the bench, and held the victim, by his neck, on the bench for a period of time."

The handcuffed man said he couldn't breathe while Daly was pressing his head into the bench. (Or, as the police report-jargon describes it: "Through investigation, it was discovered a statement was made by the victim indicating while James [Daly] was holding his throat, the victim's airway was restricted.")
click to enlarge Bethany Zarcone. - COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF
Bethany Zarcone.

During the beating, a second De Soto officer, Bethany Zarcone, "struck the handcuffed victim in his groin area with her knee," investigators say.

The probable cause statement doesn't describe the evidence behind the charges in detail or whether the incident was captured on video. However, it notes De Soto officer Allayna Campbell took "numerous digital photographs" of the arrested victim but deleted them after the incident.

"When questioned," the report continues, Campbell "stated she was instructed to delete the photographs by a supervisor" and "further stated she believed she was requested to delete the photographs due to them containing evidence of an assault."

Prosecutors in Jefferson County have charged Campbell with tampering with physical evidence, a misdemeanor. Both Zarcone and Daly are charged with felony assault in the third degree.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at [email protected]
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