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Affidavit: Off-duty WilCo deputy punched young girl in the face at Austin BBQ restaurant

Austin Police arrested 42-year-old Jack Danford Jr. at Oakwood BBQ at 307 E. Braker Lane on Saturday, March 3. (Photo courtesy: Austin Police Department)

A Williamson County Sheriff's Office deputy has been fired after he was arrested while off-duty at an Austin barbecue restaurant for allegedly attacking a 12-year-old girl.

Austin Police arrested 42-year-old Jack Danford Jr. at Oakwood BBQ at 307 E. Braker Lane on Saturday, March 3.

According to an affidavit, Danford was seated outside near the back of the restaurant and drank 2 or 3 beers while there. A witness says Danford also stated he had been "drinking all day."

Around this time, the witness saw a small dog and a 12-year-old girl running around near the rear of the restaurant. Danford picked up the dog, petted it, and put it down. When the young female victim began playing with the dog, the witness says Danford jumped from his seat and tackled the girl.

“I was shocked because I knew he was a detective and I thought that they were held to higher standards that there was no way that that would happen, especially to a 12 year old girl," Oakwood BBQ manager Will Atkins said.

Danford allegedly then began punching the 12-year-old in the face and the witness, shocked, began to grab, strike and kick Danford in an attempt to get him off the victim.

The wintess told police that there had been no interaction or communication between Danford and the girl before the attack happened, and the witness says she has no idea why it took place.

“Nobody has any idea, there was no reasoning, no logical explanation," Atkins said.

Another witness, who was making a delivery to the restaurant, says he heard the victim scream "bloody murder, like a pit bull was attacking her." When he ran into the patio area, he says he saw Danford punching her in the face with a "hammer fist" motion.

The man told police he punched Danford in the face twice to get him to stop the attack, but it "did not even phase him." He says Danford then rolled over off of the victim and appeared unconscious. The victim then ran away.

Atkins said that man who came to help knows the 12 year old girl.

“It’s basically his daughter, he treats her as a daughter," Atkins said.

“I mean I would’ve done what I would have had to do to protect my 12 year old daughter, I have kids as well," he said.

According to court documents, the victim suffered bruising, redness and swelling to her face, abrasions on her shoulder and elbow, scratches to her abdomen and a strained muscle in her neck.

After the disturbance, Danford told officers he was drugged. When officers tried to search him, he grabbed an officer's wrist and refused to let go, according to court documents.

Sheriff Robert Chody says he's disappointed in his deputy. "If you have issues or concerns, we can talk these out with these resources that you have. When you have someone go in one day do criminal activity, per say, that's disappointing.

Danford is charged with injury to a child, public intoxication charge and resisting arrest. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office says Danford was originally placed on administrative leave after the incident but has since been fired.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement said a felony conviction means a revocation of an officer's license. That means if convicted, Danford may never be an officer again.

“Even if he’s not convicted just being involved in the altercation, something like that shouldn’t… police officers should definitely be held to a higher standard," Atkins said.

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