A Merced County sheriff's deputy who allegedly pushed his wife inside the Merced County Main Jail could lose his job and be barred from owning a firearm if convicted, according to the sheriff's department and the Merced County District Attorney's Office.
Deputy Johnny Mathis, who's on paid administrative leave, according to Cmdr. B.J. Jones, faces a misdemeanor criminal battery charge for allegedly pushing his wife up against a closed door May 26 while on duty inside the main jail.
Jones said that Mathis will stay on leave indefinitely. An internal investigation is under way. Mathis wasn't arrested after the incident, said Jones, because department policy doesn't require an arrest in all domestic violence cases unless there's evidence of injury, which in this case there wasn't.
Jones said the department is taking the case seriously. There is zero tolerance for violence in the workplace, he said. In his 20 years with the department nothing like the incident has ever happened, he said.
Jones was adamant in assuring the public that there's no double standard when it comes to domestic violence and law enforcement personnel.
"There's no dual treatment," Jones said, about domestic violence and deputies. As soon as the department is made aware of any domestic violence allegations -- whether it involves a deputy or not -- it deals with it in the same way, he said.
As for what could happen to Mathis, Jones said he could lose his job, but as of now, it's too early to say. "It's premature to speculate in any way, shape or form," he said.
But if Mathis is convicted, the sheriff's department may be forced to act.
According to Harold Nutt, chief deputy district attorney, if Mathis is convicted of domestic violence, he could be barred from owning or possessing a firearm for 10 years.
If that happens, said Jones, Mathis wouldn't be able to do his job. "I don't see how anyone could be a deputy without being able to carry a firearm. That is one of the essential parts of being a peace officer," said Jones.
Read the full story at the Merced Sun-Star.