Man Involved in Walmart Altercation Appears in Court
Couple at the heart of scuffle with Kendall County sheriff's deputy welcomes home baby girl.
The Montgomery man involved in a scuffle with an off-duty Kendall County sheriff’s deputy at the Oswego Walmart on Super Bowl Sunday appeared in Kendall County court Wednesday afternoon.
A pre-trial hearing for Jason Thurmond, charged with battery stemming from the incident, ended with a continuation of the case to March 12. Thurmond’s attorney, Richard Irvin of Aurora, said the continuation will allow for time to review surveillance footage from Walmart from the afternoon of Feb. 5.
According to an Oswego police report, several police responded to the store on Route 34 for a 911 call of a fight in progress at about noon that day. Thurmond said he was in an express checkout line with his wife, and had gone back into the store to get eggs. When he returned, he said, he saw his wife in tears and another shopper yelling at her.
Thurmond identified the shopper as Kendall County Sheriff's Deputy Craig French, a department veteran who serves as the public information officer. He was off-duty at the time. The sheriff's department has not confirmed that French is the officer in question, but his name appears on the Oswego Police report about the incident.
An argument began between Thurmond said French, and Thurmond said the two got closer and closer. Thurmond admitted to shoving French to get him away from his wife, who was nine months pregnant with the couple's daughter. It was then, he said, that French pulled his gun.
911 tapes of the incident made available to Patch this week through a Freedom of Information Act request depict a scene of mass confusion, with French only revealing he was a sheriff's deputy after pulling his weapon. The sheriff's office is conducting an internal investigation into the incident and will release the results after the criminal trial of Thurmond is over.
Irvin said he looks forward to taking the case to trial.
“When an officer on-duty or off-duty pulls out his weapon there should be imminent danger,” he said. “I hardly think Mr. Thurmond retrieving a dozen eggs constituted imminent danger.”
Thurmond said Wednesday that his wife gave birth to their daughter, Mia, on Feb. 15. Mother and daughter are doing just fine, he said.
“It certainly was no thanks to having a gun pointed in her face a few days before (delivering) her,” he said. “This was suppose to be a happy occasion, and this has been all I’ve been able to think about.”
The Kendall County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident. Thurmond filed an official complaint with the sheriff's department on Feb. 7. Thurmond also said Wednesday that he plans to go forward with a lawsuit, but none has been filed. He said he has hired attorney Kevin Halverson of Warrenville, who did not return a call seeking comment.
Editor's note: The 911 calls from the day of the incident are attached to this article. Police edited some portions of the calls to remove personal information about the callers.