Fresno County correctional officer resigned, charged with felony after inmate attack

43-year-old Thomas Sire resigned during an investigation into two separate instances of alleged violence.

Corin Hoggard Image
Saturday, July 16, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

A Fresno County correctional officer has lost his job and is charged with a felony for allegedly attacking an inmate.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno County correctional officer has lost his job and is charged with a felony for allegedly attacking an inmate.

An arrest warrant reveals the Fresno County Jail became a violent place for a man booked on attempted murder charges.

The correctional officer is accused of attacking 21-year-old Eric Major in December.

43-year-old Thomas Sire worked at the jail since 2018, but resigned during an investigation into two separate instances of alleged violence.

"A Fresno County Sheriff's employee brought the misconduct allegation to their supervisor's attention," Sheriff Margaret Mims told us in a written statement. "An investigation was launched immediately and ultimately found Thomas Sire was responsible for assaulting an inmate. There is zero tolerance for this type of behavior in our office."

"Apparently this was an internal investigation and he has resigned," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "But I think that adds credence to what the inmate is saying in this particular case."

Capozzi says credibility could be a big issue in the case, which he thinks is built on circumstantial evidence, based on the arrest warrant uncovered by Action News.

It indicates surveillance cameras didn't record a good view of what happened. Another correctional officer told investigators Sire planned it that way.

He said Sire said he wanted to smack Major around in a conference room with no cameras or take him to a blind spot in the gym.

"He says 'I'd like to take him to a spot where he can't be seen on cameras'," Capozzi noted. "Well, apparently this did happen where you can't see anything on the cameras."

Major told investigators he saw Sire looking for the blind spot and sending him into it before slamming him face first into the ground.

Major's grandmother told us he suffered minor injuries and had no idea why he was attacked. They're considering filing a civil lawsuit.

Prosecutors filed a felony charge of assault and battery by an officer.

Sire made his first court appearance Friday, but postponed entering a plea.

His attorney didn't return messages.

Capozzi says the now-former officer might try to make Major out to be a liar, but testimony from other correctional officers could sink him, so he might try a different defense.

"He may say it was self-defense," Capozzi said. "'I was afraid and I thought maybe he was going to attack me.'"

Sire is due back in court next month when he's expected to enter a plea.