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Safford officer accused of sexually assaulting female suspect turned his body camera off, documents show

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SAFFORD, Ariz. - An officer accused of sexually assaulting a suspect apparently turned his body-worn camera off during the time the assault is alleged to have occurred, newly released police documents show.

Jordan Simms, 28, later died after apparently escaping handcuffs, leg shackles and a belt chain and jumping from a moving patrol car.

The case started with a shoplifting call. Documents from the Safford Police Department obtained by 12 News say Simms had been previously arrested for shoplifting.

Safford Police officer Jeremiah French responded, but no shoplifted items were found.

Instead, French wrote he discovered Simms had a warrant for her arrest in Yavapai County.

After her arrest, the documents show Simms complained of stomach pain and was taken to the hospital.

The documents show French made little mention of the hospital visit.

His report mentions Simms met with hospital staff, refused medication and was released back into his custody.

But days later, Simms would tell an investigator a much different story.

According to the police report, Simms said she was left alone with French in the hospital for up to 30 minutes.

She said during that time, French sexually assaulted her.

The sergeant who investigated Simms's claim said he talked to French and asked if French's body-worn camera was on.

According to the sergeant's report, French said he turned the camera off while in the hospital, allegedly because the hospital had concerns over patient privacy.

The nurse at the hospital told the sergeant Simms was at the hospital for nearly two hours.

Doctors did perform a sexual assault kit on Simms and the sergeant said it was entered into evidence.

Simms died a few days later.

The case was turned over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety for investigation. Neither DPS nor Safford Police would comment, citing the pending investigation.

Authored by William Pitts, 12 News

12 News

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